Saturday, January 18, 2014

Guest Blogger! Nikki schools us on making bread!

I. Am. So. Excited.

My old neighbor and fellow homesteader, Nikki, from For the Love of Homesteading dropped by to school us on a simple favorite-bread. Oh...the smell of fresh baked bread-there's nothing like it.  Nikki shares my passion for good food, great times with family, and just like me, works to live as sustainable as possible-growing veggies, canning food, reducing preservative-based foods.  We had no idea how much we actually had in common until after she moved away from Seattle. We keep up with each other via Facebook and emails, comparing notes on child-rearing and talking about food.

I'm so excited that she started a new blog, so I can follow what she's up to and drool. Read on and enjoy-and when you're done, go to her blog and check out her post on butter! Thanks, Nikki!

Hello Awesome Blog Readers!! My name is Nikki and I am a (previous neighbor) of the fabulous Miss Raina. Unfortunately I hadn't discovered Raina's fabulousness until AFTER I moved out of Seattle but here we are and better late than never right??
Anyhoo, Raina knows that I am constantly posting new culinary adventures and asked if I would be interested in contributing to her awesome blog! How could I pass up such an opportunity?!?

One of the foods that I am absolutely passionate about is Bread. I love bread. Like REALLY love bread. And all kinds of bread. My favorite food of all time, I would say, would have to be toast. Simple right? But that's just it. Good truly well made food....doesn't have to be extravagant. A slice of quality made bread, toasted lightly with just a pat of grass-fed organic butter....That is heaven to me.

In my house we make all our bread from scratch. A lot of people look at me cross eyed when I tell them that. Who makes bread anymore?? I do, and it really doesn't have to be intimidating. I make two kinds of bread on a regular basis for my family: Sourdough and crusty white. I'm going to share with you one of my favorite recipes for crusty white bread; it’s super easy and doesn't even require a kitchen aide. All you need is a Dutch oven (or heavy oven safe pot with lid preferably cast iron).

Crusty White (no knead bread)


3 cups white unbleached all purpose flour
1 3/4 tsp salt (I use kosher salt)
1/2 tsp instant yeast
1 1/2 cups water
1/4 cup warm water (to activate yeast)


1.) Activate the yeast in a bowl with 1/4 cup of warm water. Let that sit for about 5 minutes. Whisk together flour and salt in a large glass or ceramic bowl. Once the yeast has gotten nice and frothy, add the yeast to the flour as well and mix.

2.) Slowly mix in 1 1/2 cup water. This is going to look nice and shaggy after it is all incorporated. That's what its supposed to look like so don't worry.

3.) Cover with saran wrap and let sit for 12-18 hours. Set on counter and walk away. Work DONE. Do not stick in the fridge. This needs to rise. All that's left to do is bake!

4.) The next day it will be nice and "wet" looking. Stick your dutch oven with lid (or pot with lid) in oven and preheat at 450 for 30 minutes. While your oven is preheating, lightly dump your dough onto a HEAVILY floured surface and shape into a circular loaf. Mine always looks circular-ish lol but I think it just adds character. Let bread rest until oven is done preheating. Once 30 minute preheat has completed, CAREFULLY dump your your bread into dutch oven, replace lid and bake for 30 minutes.

5.) 30 minutes has completed and.....remove lid. I know it totally looks done but just wait. Now, with lid removed, continue to bake another 15 minutes. You will not regret this. This is what gives the bread that nice crust!

That is IT!! Awesomely simple right?! You can also change up your bread a bit and add fun mix-ins when you are mixing the flour with the salt and yeast. Add cheese and your favorite herbs for a nice artisan bread; the possibilities are endless!! Good Luck!!