Objectively, life has been difficult lately. We have joked that moving cursed us, but sometimes I feel there is actually something to that. If our lives looked too good to be true back in the summer (beach trip! UK trip! new house!), don’t worry; the universe has come back for us.
Since we have moved we have had to buy a new dishwasher, a new dryer, and a new car. The only one of those we were slightly expecting was the new car, but we had kind of hoped that Gerrit’s old beat up Jeep would last us until at least early spring.
Then Trump got elected president. Then I had my miscarriage.
And here have been a gazillion other little things that have made life stressful…like opening the freezer to snow and ice on Friday morning, or having our router die a few weeks ago, or the cat ripping a hole in our duvet cover. Since we have moved, I’m not sure there has been a single week in which something in our lives hasn’t broken.
All that to say, things have been a bit tough and I think it’s made it a bit harder to feel settled in this new lovely home. Psychologically, it makes me miss our old house (because it seems we never had such a string of bad luck when we lived there). But objectively I know that our old house would not bring happiness back. We made the happiness, and we are making happiness here, too. Eventually the bad luck season will be over (I’m hoping the miscarriage was the end of it) and things will be fine again.
I’m rambling a bit now, but the point I’m trying to get to is that in the midst of all of the upheaval and stress, I realized how uncomfortable I felt in my kitchen. The truth is, I haven’t done as much cooking in our new kitchen as I would have liked. Our fall schedule was weird, and it left me with menu plans that prioritized convenience over my love for food.
And last week I thought, I am sitting here in November and I haven’t even baked bread in my new kitchen.
Suddenly that seemed like such a necessary initiation for the kitchen, as if maybe a loaf of bread would unlock my discomfort and ease me back into things.
I’ve had this recipe bookmarked for a while now, but I had forgotten, when I had read it before, that it really is the most basic bread you could make because there is no kneading. There is simply mixing, dumping dough into pans, rising, and baking. And so while it wasn’t exactly what I had in mind for a loaf of bread, it seems appropriate considering life right now. And it really is so easy (and delicious–I made the best toast with it the other night, and a plain slice with just butter is fantastic) that it could be made very practically on a daily basis.
There cannot be an easier bread recipe than this. It doesn't even require kneading. And it comes out smelling fresh and warm and begging for butter. When you are baking it, the original recipe says you should take the bread out of the pans and cook the loaves directly on the rack for about 15 more minutes. I didn't do this because I prefer a less done crust, but if you'd like a crispy golden crust, I'm sure this is delicious.
- 1 teaspoon instant yeast
- 3 1/2 cups warm water
- 5 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
- 1 3/4 cups whole wheat flour
- 4 teaspoons kosher salt
- Oil, for greasing pans
- In a large bowl, combine the yeast and warm water. Then add the all-purpose flour, whole wheat flour, and salt. Mix (you can just use a good wooden spoon) until it comes together as a dough. If it is having a hard time, you can knead this a little in the bowl (but the general idea is that you don't have to knead this bread).
- Divide the dough in half and put half of the dough into each bread bread. Spread the dough out a bit so it is even in the bottom of the pan, then cover with a clean towel and let rise until the dough is level with the tops of the pans (the time this will take will vary, but expect a couple of hours).
- Preheat oven to 450 degrees F. Bake the bread for 30-40 minutes, until golden brown and a bit hollow sounding when you tap on it.
- Remove the bread from the pans and let cool. Store wrapped in plastic wrap or in a paper or zip top bag.
adapted from Make the Bread, Buy the Butter