Doing it by hand | A bread recipe
I've started making bread weekly. At least.
4 cups of flower, a sprinkle of salt, yeast.
The warm water filling the basin.
Kneading by hand over, and over. And over.
Watching the dough rise on the sunny corner of the dining room table.
The house smelling of yeast.
It's the slow, methodical, careful movements. Barefoot in the kitchen, usually holding a baby. Mixing ingredients. Simple. Slow. Sustainable.
It doubles as a science experiment. A cooking lesson. A mindful exercise. A stress-reducer. A reminder.
A reminder of simplicity is best. That slow, hard work reaps far better rewards than a quick fix (or a trip to the grocery with 3 kids). A reminder of the things in my life that make me truly happy and content. Family. Food. Doing things by hand.
4 cups of flour (I usually use white but wheat is next on my list)
1 packet or 2 1/4 tsp active dry yeast
1 2/3 - 2 cups hot water (100 degrees)
Mix flour, salt, yeast in a large bowl and create a well in the center. Slowly pour the water in to the well, pulling the flour mixture in to the water to combine. The dough should be tacky but hot hopefully sticky.
Turn the ball of dough out on to a floured surface and knead for 10-20 minutes. You can use a stand mixer but there's something extra special about spending those 20 minutes standing and kneading, feeling the dough form under your hands, quietly creating bread on your own.
Rinse out the bowl and wipe 1tbsp of olive oil around the bowl. Place the ball inside and let rise in a warm spot for about 2 hours. A sunny table is fine as is the stovetop of a warm oven (200 degrees will do).
Once the bread has doubled in size, turn the dough back to the floured surface and punch down a few times to get the air bubbles out - and some aggression.
Split in to two halves and place in oiled loaf pans or break in to a few smaller rolls on an oiled pan.
Preheat the oven to 375 and let the dough rise in the pans for 20 minutes - 1hour while the oven warms.
Bake for 30-40 minutes until the sides and tops begin to brown.