The title is a play on the Bachman-Turner Overdrive classic from the 70s, that decade when we packed Wonder Bread in our school lunches every day. But this is a new decade in my life…the pre-homesteading one in which I bake my own bread and take another step toward a future life on five acres with chickens I don’t name, because I will eventually eat them.
My love of home-baked bread started at age 5 when I would sit across from my crooked great aunt as she shaped lovely mounds of dough and lined them up in rows across the flour-dusted formica table. When she wasn’t looking (and that was somehow never), my arm would shoot forward like a tiny bolt of lightning and snatch a bit of the dough. Using strange magic, she would glare simultaneously at me and at the tattle-tale pinch left by my little fingers.
How did Wonder Bread ever cut it after Aunt Doris’s homemade rolls? Actually, I quit eating it and feeding it to my own kids years ago. Anything that melds with peanut butter and jelly to evolve into a new species by lunch hour can’t be good for you.
I’ve tried baking bread before but never had time for all that rising and kneading. And I haven’t had much luck with bread machines, which manufacture something like an unevenly baked box.
Enter Grit’s homemade bread guide and the versatile and nearly no-fail recipes for NO-KNEAD bread. No need to knead, because the unusually wet dough is left to rise for 12-18 hours before it is baked in enamel-ware, cast iron 3-qt. pots.
These pots can be very expensive. I bought mine at Carson Pirie Scott’s when they were 60% off. The crust they form is crunchy and chewy and crackles as it cools on the rack.
I know what you’re asking. Who has time to bake bread? Not me. But this method is easy to work into my day. Here’s my favorite Grit magazine no-knead recipes:
Basic white bread (pictured above, the easiest to make)
Cranberry “walnut” bread (Because of nut allergies, I substitute the walnuts with the same amount of finely diced candied ginger. I’ve used crystallized, too, but the candied has a softer texture. You can find both at Trader Joe’s, Whole Foods, and even Target. I also add a couple teaspoons or so of freshly grated orange rind.)
Sun-dried tomato bread (I leave out the cilantro and add a couple teaspoons of chopped fresh rosemary.)