So, it’s Monday.
For this first time since this stay-at-home thing started, today my motivation completely faded into nothing. I successfully got online bright and early and cancelled plane tickets and hotel reservations for our spring break trip to New York, and then I just gave up.
So, part of my teacher-life is “lunch bunch” — a group of kids who eat lunch in my room every day. And when the stay-at-home order started, we moved it online. Their food has gotten fancier — mushroom spinach omelets instead of microwave ramen — but the basic conversations have stayed the same. It’s what got me off the couch today. Probably the best part is that my foreign exchange students frequently jump on from Germany (and once from Italy!). More than anything, all of their faces and voices make the world seem more connected and hopeful.
Today, I let them pick from a list of already-cooked but need-to-be-blogged about food, and the top two were this bread and a frozen key lime pie (coming soon, I promise).
This bread is high on comfort and low on labor. If you’re looking for something to do with your kids that doesn’t require a long attention span, this is it. Think short bursts of activity punctuated by long periods of relaxing. I recommend watching The English Game (Julian Fellowes and the origin story of British football) or perhaps reading a Louise Penny mystery. Current mood.
Original recipe from Mark Bittman, via the New York Times.
- 4 cups bread flour (or all purpose, if that’s all you have)
- 1/2 tsp instant yeast
- 2 teaspoons salt
- 2 cups warm water
- Day 1: Combine all ingredients in a large bowl, stirring with a big spoon. The dough should be wet and shaggy; add more water, a teaspoon at a time, if the dough seems dry. Cover with plastic wrap and let rise in a warm place for 18-20 hours. These times are very approximate and this bread is super forgiving so err in either direction.
- Day 2: The dough should be dotted with bubbles. Lightly flour a work surface. Turn the dough out onto the work surface; sprinkle with more flour and fold it a few times. Next, generously flour a dish towel (not terry — smooth is better here). Place the ball of dough, seam side down, onto the floured towel. Cover with a second towel. Let rise for approximately 1-2 hours.
- Day 2, later: Place a heavy, lidded pot (like a Dutch oven) in the oven and preheat it to 450 degrees Fahreneheit. Once it is hot, remove the pot from the oven (carefully!). Using the towel, gently ease the dough into the pot. Replace the lid and place the pot back into the oven. Bake 25 minutes. Then, remove the lid and continue to bake for 20-30 more minutes, until the bread is browned.
- Remove using tongs and cool for at least 20 minutes before slicing — If you can keep your family away from it that long!
Enjoy staying in and baking bread!