Thursday, June 28, 2012

Artisan Bread

Artisan Bread

This is an amazing, meal changing recipe. 

The recipe and technique are simple and quick.  The results are consistently delicious.

The idea is that rather than spending time developing the gluten in the bread through kneading, the dough is allowed to rest for two hours on the counter and 24 hours in the refrigerator.  Time is the ingredient that does all of the work for you.  The large batch of dough will last for 2 weeks in the fridge and will make around 5 (1 pound) loaves of artisan style bread. 

The bread has a delicious crusty exterior, and a tender and light middle. 

A perfect accompaniment for any meal, with or without a spread of softened butter, this bread has become a new staple in our house.  At a mere 40 cents a loaf, how can I not offer a freshly baked loaf for several dinners a week?

If you are new to bread making, or don’t have a bread machine, this is a great way to start baking bread.

Here’s how to do it:

1 1/2 Tablespoons of Yeast
1 1/2 Tablespoons of Salt
6 1/2 Cups All-Purpose Flour
3 Cups lukewarm Water


Start by measuring the flour into a bowl.


Add the yeast.  I’ve been using 2 packs of regular active dry yeast. 
 You could probably save even more money if you bought the yeast and flour in bulk.


Stir in the warm water.  Just warm tap water is fine.


Then add the salt. 
Like any true artisan style bread, there are only these 4 ingredients.


Here is a picture of the dough.  This is a very wet dough.

You need to cover the dough, but allow some airflow and gasses to escape. 
 This is a salad bowl that has a small gap in the lid.  It seems to work well. 


Let the mixture sit on the counter for 2 hours.  It will raise up and then start to deflate. 
After that, put in in the fridge. 
The batter will last up to 2 weeks,
so you can bake it one batch at a time, as you want to.


When you are ready to bake a loaf,
 put a generous sprinkling of corn meal or flour onto your
 wooden cutting board or peel.


Grab a handful the size of a grapefruit and use your kitchen sheers
 to cut the rest of the dough away.  The best size is around a 1 pound loaf.
Gently roll it into a ball shape.  Or you can elongate it into a small loaf shape.


Allow it to rest and raise for 40 to 90 minutes until it is near double in size. 
 Slice 3 horizontal cuts across the top. 
Preheat your oven to 450 degrees with your baking stone and a metal pan underneath it. 
Do not use a glass baking pan, as it will shatter once you add the water.


This is the set-up in my oven.  Slide the loaf off of the peel and onto the baking stone. 
 Quickly add some water to the metal pan and shut the door to the oven. 
Set the timer for 30 minutes.  To know that the bread is done, it will have a nice medium brown crust, and it will sound hollow when you tap on it.
Allow the bread to rest for 10-15 minutes before slicing into it.

Artisan Bread 2

This bread is so yummy! 
The crust is perfectly crunchy and the inside is very tender. 
 I love it with a spread of softened butter, but honestly it is good plain too!

If you are interested in watching a video of the process click here.

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

…the city burns

Please pray for our town, and for our state which is literally on fire.

We are safe so far, but our hearts are broken for the damage the fire is causing, and for the thousands of people who have been evacuated.


It’s times like this that can be difficult to understand God’s plan. 

“For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the LORD,
“plans to prosper you and not to harm you,
plans to give you hope and a future.”
–Jeremiah 29:11

It can become hard to see what good could possibly come out of a situation like this.

And we know that God causes everything
to work together for the good of those
who love God and are called according
to his purpose for them.
-Romans 8:28


No matter the reason or the outcome,  it does give us an opportunity to stay right at the foot of the throne, and lean on The One who gives us hope.

God is our refuge and strength,
an ever-present help in trouble.
-Psalm 46:1

Sunday, June 24, 2012

Tot School {31 Months}

We have way scaled back on the amount of time we have spent doing Tot School.  She hasn’t seemed very interested for a while now.  This past week her interest has picked up some.
We started off with some color work, specifically Yellow.  These are our favorite tools for learning colors:


She loves our set of Color Discovery Boxes.


She has learned how to say all of the objects in the box and had fun pointing them out to me while I called them out.


This is a Montessori set of Knobless Cylinders that is great for stacking, grading, and pre-math skills.


I am always so impressed with how well she can stack them, in the correct order too!



I found this set, Who Lives Here?  at a garage sale a few weeks ago and she loves it!  I mean! My am-ee-mals!  You have to find the matching pair under the little house.  It’s a pretty cute game.


She saw her big sis doing this Magnetic Designer and played with it a bit too.  She would scream Wook Wook I did it! whenever she moved a magnet.



She requested this Color Fishing Set and it is always a good tool for practicing color names.




This toy is a new find and she loves to play with it.  She strings, stacks, and makes the noises of all the animals.



She got to paint one day with her older sis and had so much fun making a big mess with her fingers.  She did her best to redecorate the table, her hair, and her PJ’s into a nice shade of yellow…


She still loves her Tag Jr. and is entertained by it for a much longer period of time now.



Just for Fun


We’ve been on a bit of a park – tour lately and Olivia always surprises me with how much she does and how brave she is to try new things.  I guess being the youngest of 4 means she has lots of examples to watch all the time.


Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Father’s Day 2012

It just so happens, that my kids have one of the greatest father’s I know.

It is so easy to spoil him on Father’s Day, partly because he is easy to please, but mostly because we all love him so much!

The kids and I sat down last week to make these cute little books for him.  They colored the pages, drew pictures, and answered some questions about their dad.




I love what Elaina dictated to me when I asked her what makes daddy smile and she told me that daddy smiles when he kisses mommy.

She went on to add: I love dad because God tells me to, but I’d love him anyway, no matter what.



We took him out for breakfast, a very rare treat for the 6 of us.




And then later went hiking and had a picnic in the mountains.  I thought for sure it was a disaster when 10 minutes into our meal we had to pack it up and run to the van because it was hailing on us.

But Saul is so easy going.  He smiled really big at me and told me this was a great day! 

I wish I could go with the flow more like he does. 

I guess that’s what makes us a good pair…



We all took him to buy a new pair of shoes and later spoiled him with a chocolate cupcake and ice cream.

Happy Father’s Day Saul!