Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Harried Housewife Bread

I've long had this vision in my head that I'd be the sort of woman who woke up early to bake bread, whose house would smell warm and doughy, who would always serve floury goods from scratch to unexpected (and expected) guests. I felt I should have some sort of innate mother earthiness that would tie me to women all over the world who rise with the sun to put on the rice, roll out the tortillas or injera, or fry the dough. But as romantic as my imagination can be, I like to sleep in.

And so that vision has largely remained where it belongs: in my head.

Until, that is, I came across this recipe (via pinterest) for a super simple crusty and yet soft bread baked in a cast iron pot. It's so easy, even I did it.

Here's the rundown (more details including lots of pictures and advice on how to make it fancier and what types of pots to use on the link above):

whisk together 3 cups flour with 1 3/4 t salt, 1/2 t salt in a large mixing bowl
add 1 1/2 cups water, stir (in my case, have your two year old help pour and mix because that way she won't pull all the tupperware out of the drawer and will enjoy the bread more the next day because she made it)

cover with plastic wrap, set aside for 12 to 18 hours

(This is the part where my husband, who used to do yeast-related research, gets all dubious and starts asking me what temperature it has to be because yeast grows best at 30 degrees and then he gets all science-y and loses me. And I have to tell him, "Just have faith. We'll see what happens," and this makes me actually feel sort of mother earthy and wise.)

preheat oven to 450 degrees and put your cast iron pot in for 30 minutes
pour the dough onto a heavily floured surface, cover with plastic wrap

place dough in EXTREMELY hot pot, cover with lid, bake for 30 minutes

That's it!

Mine didn't rise quite as much as the one at Simply So Good, but it was still delicious. I only let it sit for about 12 hours, so next time I might give it a few more. Also, the yeast I was using might not have been up to par. I'd like to give it a shot with at least some whole grain and, of course, try the suggestions on the website of different cheese and herbs.

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