Of Bread and Migration

I’ve been missing these past weeks. The school year has come to an end and with it all the exams and preparations for next year.  In less than 4 days, I’ll be back in Europe for the Summer. We expats, are like birds; come summer and we all migrate back to the place we call home, visit family and friends, recharge our batteries, breathe the fresh summer air and indulge in delicacies and the simple things of life. The girls are already planning all the meals they will sink their teeth in and all the places they would like to visit and revisit. As for me, I have a very long list of things to do!

First stop: Switzerland – get ready for some Swiss treats and then the South of France where a beautiful house in the lavender fields awaits us for three weeks! Cafés, brasseries, ancien villages, culinary discoveries and the beautiful markets of Provence. I CANNOT wait!

Well, it might be summer in Europe but it’s “winter” here in Angola; and by winter I mean 22°C!! Perfect time for some baking.

A while back I really got into making my own bread. At first, I was pretty scared and imagined the whole process to be tedious and out of my league. But then, I stumbled upon Jim Lahey’s recipe a no-knead bread that supposedly could be made by a five year-old.  I absolutely loved it! Really easy and fail-proof recipe. I then got a bit adventurous and caught the “make your own bread” bug. I bought several books and tried various recipes and techniques which eventually led me to try to make my own sourdough. I have yet to succeed, all my attempts have been a big fail but I’m not giving up and I’ll try again this summer. Perhaps the European climate will be more forgiving.

Lately, as I was going through the Italian dish a great blog, I saw her post on the no-knead artisan bread which requires ABSOLUTELY no handling. I had to try it.  I got the book The New Artisan Bread in Five Minutes a Day: The Discovery that Revolutionizes Home Baking by Jeff Hertzberg and Zoë François and this is the result!

“Bread deals with living things, with giving life, with growth, with the seed, the grain that nurtures. It is no coincidence that we say bread is the staff of life”
– Lionel Poilane

Five Minute Bread

  • Servings: 4 loaves
  • Time: 2hr 30mins
  • Difficulty: easy
  • Print

Equipment needed: 

  • a big lidded plastic container (not airtight), or you can punch a small hole in the lid. Alternatively you can use plastic wrap and punch a hole in that too;
  • a whisk;
  • a wooden spoon;
  • a cast iron pot.

Ingredients:

  • 3 cups (680 gr) lukewarm water
  • 1 Tbsp (10 gr) of instant yeast
  • 1,5 Tbsp (25 gr ) Kosher salt
  • 6,5 cups (910 gr) All purpose flour (I used bread flour)
  1. Place the lukewarm water ( it should feel just a little warmer than body temperature) in a large bowl and add the yeast and salt and whisk.
  2. Add all of the flour at once and mix with a wooden spoon until the mixture is uniform.  It only takes minutes to get a homogeneous dough, don’t knead it, it’s not necessary.
  3. Cover with a lid but not airtight or loosely with plastic wrap.

  1. Allow the mixture to rise at room temperature until it collapses or flattens on the top. Usually it takes around 2 hours depending on the room’s temperature. If you don’t want to use the dough straight away, store it in the fridge.
  2. When you are ready to bake your bread, flour your hands, pull up the dough and cut 1 pound (grapefruit size). Mould the dough in a boule, ball shape (no longer than 30 seconds) and set it on parchment paper. Let it rise for 20-90 minutes. Lighthly dampen the top of the bread and sprinkle with seeds of your liking;  with a sharp knife score the top of the bread. 

  1. 20 minutes before baking your bread, place your cast iron pot with its lid on in the oven and turn the oven to 240°C or 450°F.  CAREFUL (it gets REALLY hot) remove the pot from the oven and gently place the parchment paper with the bread in the pot without burning yourself. Put the lid back on and transfer to the oven.
  2. After 20 minutes, remove the lid and bake for another 20 minutes to get a nice golden crust. Remove from the oven and allow it to cool before sinking your teeth into it!

Bon appétit!

9 thoughts on “Of Bread and Migration

    1. Fresh bread always sounds nice 🙂 Aren’t we lucky going to Provence?! I’ll be near Aix-en-Provence.. A place called Grambois. Where abouts will you be and is it your first time?

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  1. I assume you scored the dough just before placing it in the cast iron pot. Did you dampen the dough to get the sesame seeds to stick? I have more luck using the tangzhong method especially for our sandwich bread. I recently used tangzhong and made a whole wheat and it was the best!

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    1. Thank you Tracee for your comment. I’m pretty new to blogging and forget sometimes to mention the basics. I’ve updated the info and yes, I did score it before placing it in the cast iron. I’ve never heard of the tangzhong method but I looked it up and I am curious to give it a go! 🙂 Thank You for introducing me to a new way of baking bread. Suad

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