I was reminded today of our mortality, our frailty. What matters in life. Family. Time on the beach. A nice dinner with friends.
Here's an easy loaf of bread to accompany a meal, adapted from the book, My Bread. It requires almost no effort, just a little forethought, and a scale:
400 g bread flour8 g salt¼ tsp active dry yeast300 g wateradditional flour for dusting
Mix everything together until the flour is wet.
Let rise in a warm place, 12-24 hours.
Coat your fingers with dry flour, then scoop the dough out of the bowl and fold it into a loaf in as few motions as possible. Dust the loaf with flour.
Take a smooth, cotton tea towel (has to be smooth, terry cloth sticks), and dust heavily with flour. Lay the loaf smooth side up on the towel, dust the other side, and cover lightly with the towel. Let rise 2 more hours.
Half an hour from being done rising, heat an enamel pot in the oven (like this one) at 475°F. After half an hour, remove the pot from the oven, and gently drop the loaf into the hot pot (careful, you don't want to burn yourself here). Close the pot, and place back in the oven.
Bake 30 minutes, lid on, and another 10 minutes, lid off to bronze the loaf. The closed lid acts to keep steam in the pot, giving the effect of a humidified oven. Then opening the pot helps to darken the loaf. To give you this:
The extra long rising gives it a nice fermented flavour that I haven't found in other breads. Delicious.
Cool loaf 1 hour, then serve to loved ones.