SimplySailingOnline.com shows by example how easily you can eliminate stress, become more independent, raise your children in a safer environment (while spending more time with them, instilling values not based on the mighty dollar) and avoid the traps of commercialism. Because we live and sail simply, we have been wandering for 11 years with no intention of stopping. This is not a trip for us; it is our life, and I hope to share our success with stories of laughter and tears, as well as how-to tips and DIY projects for preparing, sailing and making a boat a home, so that others can join us.

No Knead Bread

April 7, 2014

Like most people, we are a bit leery of anything that seems too good to be true. We are skeptical of gimmicky types of "quick and easy" solutions to everyday problems. But while perusing the local library, Dave came across a book about no knead bread that caught his attention. He has never been a fan of no knead bread. The consistency and flavor usually suffer, all for being too lazy to knead a hunk of dough for ten minutes. But we were in a hurry and he had no time to delve very deeply into the book, so he decided to check it out and read it at home.

This book has been the best thing since sliced bread for us. Gradually, over the past few years, we have changed what we eat. We no longer eat anything with high fructose corn syrup, avoid GMOs as much as we can, won't eat sawdust (called "cellulose"), and therefore generally have a hard time finding bread that we can eat. So far our only solution has been sprouted grain breads such as Ezekiel and similar brands. At $5 a loaf and with a taste that leaves me eating a lot of tortillas, this wasn't an acceptable solution either. Finally, Dave agreed to simply start making all our bread. Enter his new book.


Tub of dough rising

Entitled The New Artisan Bread in Five Minutes a Day, it sounded too hokey to be any good, but I was desperate for bread I could enjoy again and he was short on time, so we tried it. The trick to this bread is that a huge amount of dough is made at once. Mix only four ingredients (NO sugar at all) into a large bucket (we use the largest of our Tupperware storage containers), stir, and let rise at room temperature until it starts to fall. The book says this may be as short as 2 hours. We have never reached this point in less than 8 hours, but our yeast is also several years old and has lived on a boat the last few years of its life.

After this initial rise, you can store the container in the refrigerator for over a week, pulling off a hunk of dough to make bread at any time. This is the beauty of this method. At 5:00 Dave decides he's cooking baked penne for dinner. "Would you like a baguette with that?" After all these years he still has to ask? He takes the tub of dough out of the fridge, pulls off an orange-sized piece, forms it into a baguette shape, lets it rest 20 minutes and cooks it for 25 minutes. From idea to table in less than an hour.


After a hunk has been removed

We use this dough to make boules, too. Rather than traditional loaf-shaped breads, I prefer the French style shapes. A boule requires a small melon-sized piece of dough and a bit longer rest and cooks for 30 minutes. We slice this into sandwich bread to use for lunches for the next few days.


Boule

Since I am usually in charge of breakfast, I decided to try the sticky roll recipe in the book which uses the same hunk of dough that had been in the fridge for a few days. Dave pulled off the correct amount, rolled it out, sprinkled it with cinnamon sugar, rolled it, and cut it into several pieces while I cracked pecans that a friend had given us when we were in Oregon. From idea to fresh, hot sticky buns was just over an hour and that's only because I'm a slow nut cracker.


Baguette

But my all-time favorite use for this bucket of dough in our fridge is pizza. Dave has been making homemade pizza since before we even met, so the idea isn't original. But what makes the biggest difference in our lives is the timing. We were invited to a friend's house for a get together, but it was a sort of "bring your own dinner" thing. When Dave asked what I wanted to bring I immediately said pizza. It's easy to reheat if necessary, easy to transport, and with our new dough, quick to make. We had never timed how long it took to make pizza with this method, but we decided to give ourselves an hour before we had to leave.


Batard

He cut off a hunk of dough, formed it into the shape of our pizza pan, topped it with homemade sauce, cheese, mushrooms, pepperoni, pineapples, herbs and crushed red pepper. With this method there is no resting period with pizza dough, so it went straight into the oven for 20 minutes. We now know that we can go from idea to homemade, fresh-out-of-the-oven pizza in under a half hour. He's made pizza before, but never like this.


Sticky buns in under an hour

Because of the long initial rise, this no knead bread still has excellent bread flavor, unlike most "easy" bread recipes. And because it can sit in the fridge for a week, there is no need to make the dough every time you want fresh bread.

You'll notice that I haven't given the specific recipe. This method is "owned" by the authors of the book, and rightfully so. While you could buy the book (the link is above) from Amazon or other sellers, new, used, or electronic version, you could also do what we did. Go to your local library, check out the book, try it a few times and see if it fits into your lifestyle as well as it does ours. Fresh bread, sticky buns, pizza, baguette, rolls, hamburger buns, cinnamon sticks, any shape you can form out of dough is possible, all with the same tub of dough in your fridge. If you try it, drop us a line and let us know if you, too, are now sold on a gimmicky solution to a time-consuming problem.


Pizza in less than a half hour

Sorry for the abrupt change of plans, but apparently our sailing kids have opinions to offer about the recent bad press toward parents raising their children on sailboats. MONDAY we'll get the unique point of view from one who has lived it.

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