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Why a homemade recipe for bread is exactly what we knead right now

 Baking bread at home is a great way to covet the carb without foregoing your favourite food completely during self-isolation.

Serves 4

Preparation time 6 hours

Cooking time 45 minutes

While plenty of food is still available in grocery stores, certain shopping trends have already begun to present themselves in this pending apocalypse. Along with the omission of canned goods, dry pasta and toilet paper (yeah, good luck eating that), the bread aisles of supermarkets seem to have been swept by locusts as well.

Bread often gets a bad rap, especially when we’re eating well and looking for a food group to neatly blame all of our winter transgressions on. But as we head into a world of uncertainty (and misinformation), it's obvious that we want carbs to fill up on while we're holed up inside.

Since you might not be able to get your hands on mass-produced loaves – which have the unfortunate reputation for swapping whole grains for bleached flour and additives anyway – now is a great time to start baking fresh bread at home.  

A couple of months ago, I discovered a no-knead bread recipe that was so easy and so satisfying, I’ve had limited contact with the bread aisle ever since. While countless recipes float around on the internet, my tried-and-true uses four simple ingredients that are probably already hiding in your cupboard waiting to be turned into delicious dough: all-purpose flour, water, salt and yeast. You can prep the night before and watch as your dough mountain grows into a delicious monster, then simply plonk your baby into a Dutch oven or deep pot and wait for 45 minutes as that incredible smell (and your hunger) fills the kitchen.

Yes, it’s possible that my carb-addled brain is desperately seeking excuses for not kicking my floury friend out of bed (literally, my bed is full of toast crumbs). But in a world where guidebooks for juice diets, charcoal cleanses and dodgy weight-loss vitamins are runaway internet bestsellers, it’s unreasonable to make an enemy of the fibre-filled staff of life.

Ingredients

  • 7 g dry active yeast
  • 2 cups warm water
  • 4 cups flour
  • 1 Tbsp salt

Method

  1. Mix yeast and water together in a jug. Add the flour and the salt to a bowl. Mix together and make a well in the centre. Fold in and blend together with your hands until the dough is in one lump and has stopped sticking to the bowl. Cover with a towel and leave for two hours.
  2. With a spatula, pull the expanded dough back to the centre until it has stopped sticking to the sides. Cover for another two hours.
  3. Ease the dough from the sides and upend the dough, placing it on a lightly floured surface, sprinkling more flour on top. Move the dough around, folding in the edges to make a circle or ball shape. Add a small amount of olive oil to a clean bowl and wipe around the edges. Sprinkle with flour, drop the dough in and cover.
  4. Meanwhile, place a Dutch oven or large pot in a preheated oven (450 F) for one hour.
  5. Remove dough from bowl, move around and gently flour, then drop into Dutch oven and replace lid. Bake for 45 minutes.
  6. Remove loaf and cool for 20 minutes before serving. 
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