More freakishly warm weather this week and next. 60's and 70's are unheard of in February in Illinois. The lilies are pushing through the ground and the trees are budding. We haven't had much winter to speak of around these parts. But I am hungering for green...
It's after midnight. That means that this will date the 14th even though it's really the 13th still to me. lol And it is the 13th day of the challenge. I wasn't feeling great today and the only thing I actually accomplished was making bread dough to sit so I can bake tomorrow. I love the artisan bread recipes and have a multi grain dough with sunflower seeds, sesame seeds, millet, wheat germ and 10 grain cereal in it. I'm hoping for a dense chewy loaf. You gently mix up this no knead concoction , put it in a big bowl on the counter and cover it and let it sit for 12 to 18 hours. I'll bake it first thing in the morning. I was dreaming of making a coconut milk lentil soup to go with the bread and then I realized tomorrow is Valentine's Day and should probably make supper a little more of a romantic endeavor than peasant soup and bread. Or not. I'll see how I feel when I get up. This afternoon I took a 2.5 hour nap. And I've been yawning already for an hour.
So...the bread is exceptionally easy. If you don't make your own bread because you're intimidated by the idea, well, just stop that right now. Here's the drill for these artisan breads:
Get a BIG bowl. In this big bowl, dump 4 cups of all purpose flour. You can use half white flour and half wheat, or whatever you like. Then mix in 1 tsp. yeast and 1.5 tsp salt. Add whatever seeds, nuts, wheat germ you want. Mix these up. Then add 2 1/4 cups warm water. Not hot or it will kill the yeast. I also added a little honey to it here. Use a wooden paddle or spoon and mix the water into the flour and make sure it all mixes good with no dry flour left in the bottom of the bowl. It will be a very wet sticky dough. Leave it in the bowl and cover with plastic wrap and let it sit on your counter for 12-18 hours undisturbed. GO ON !! Get on with your life !! It will be just fine without you. lol
Next you want to preheat your oven to 450 degrees F. The very best way to bake this is in a cast iron Dutch oven. Turn your bread dough out onto a sheet of parchment paper covered with flour. Flour your hands as well. Take the dough out of the big bowl and roughly shape it into a ball. Line your pot with another sheet of paper and then put this one in too with the ball of dough sitting on it. In an x shape so the bread doesn't come into too much contact with the pot. It can stick pretty badly otherwise. You can slash the top or not. Put the lid on and pop it into the oven. Bake for 30 minutes, remove the lid and bake another 15 to 20 minutes until golden brown. Remove from the oven and cool.
That's it. Fresh healthy bread for pennies a loaf. At a time when a decent loaf of bread is costing around 4 dollars, this is a slam dunk. Good luck trying to let it cool before you cut it.
Tomorrow (which is now today) we'll do up a Valentine's Day extravaganza. And after I bake this bad boy, I'll show you some pictures.
Good night, all y'all...