What do you gather around you when you need comfort?
A mug of tea or a cocktail? A favorite sweatshirt or song? Your friends, your family? Pasta or cookies? Maybe even a memory?
Sometimes the memories, those are the worst when you’re searching for comfort.
Smells comfort me. My running shoes and my yoga mat bring me comfort. So do family and friends and my dear, sweet Mira and Lola.
And food, though different food for different situations. Sometimes I need a fresh loaf of bread. It’s homey, warm, simple, and good. And no matter how many loaves of bread I make, I still feel an incredible amount of satisfaction when I take the bread pan out of the oven and slice myself a piece. It’s a miracle to me every time that I can get the yeast to work.
I was out of bread last weekend and craving something different from my usual whole wheat sandwich bread. Something white and crusty. I found a recipe for a no-knead bread via Pinterest and decided to give it a shot. Not many ingredients, no mixer or kneading required, and I could let it rise its required 12-18 hours overnight and put the loaf in the oven in the morning.
Nothing beats a house filled with morning sunshine and the smell of baking bread. Wait, warm-from-the-oven bread with avocado and a runny fried egg—that almost beats it. Talk about comfort, plain and simple.
I’m on my second loaf of this crusty gloriousness, and I’m going to tell you, it cannot be easier to make. You may say yeast scares you (please, no yeast jokes, I know at least one of you is making one in your head.), that making bread is a difficult process. Trust me, it’s not.
The woman whose blog this bread comes from has a whole slew of FAQs and helpful tips on her site. If you want some support in your bread endeavors, check them out.
I have just one tip for you, one that made my bread making much less stressful: use a thermometer. Active dry yeast, which is what I use in all my bread, needs to be woken up, or reactivated, with water and sugar. The package will give you directions. It will tell you to use water that’s 110º-115º F. Stick your instant read thermometer under the faucet and turn on the water, and only fill your measuring cup when it’s reached that temperature. Any other water used in the recipe should be that temperature, too. If your yeast does not get foamy and smelly after five minutes, dump it and start over. No shame.
Please, make this bread. Start it one evening, let it sit, even for up to 24 hours, and bake it in the morning. Invite over a friend or your momma. Fill your life, or the life of someone else, with a little bit of crusty bread comfort.
Crusty White Bread
recipe from Simply So Good
3/4 teaspoon active dry yeast
1/2 teaspoon sugar
3 cups unbleached all purpose flour
1 3/4 teaspoons salt
1 1/2 cups water
1. Prepare the yeast. Measure out 1/4 cup water at 110º-115º. Add the sugar and yeast and let sit for up to five minutes until the mixture is foamy.
2. In a large mixing bowl, whisk together flour, salt and yeast. Add water and mix until a shaggy mixture forms. It’ll be quite sticky and not dough-like. Do not fear! Cover bowl with plastic wrap and set aside for 12-18 hours. Overnight works great.
3. Preheat the oven to 450º. When the oven has reached 450º place a dutch oven or cast iron pot with a lid in the oven and heat the pot for 30 minutes. Meanwhile, put the dough onto a heavily floured surface and shape it into a rough ball. Cover with plastic wrap and let sit while the pot is heating. Remove hot pot from the oven and drop in the dough. Cover and return to oven for 30 minutes. After 30 minutes remove the lid and bake an additional 15 minutes. Remove bread from oven and place on a cooling rack to cool.