no knead… the easiest bread you ever made

There are few things as good as home-baked bread we all know.  I know this all too well.  But the truth is my arms started aching after last years endeavours.  Granted I still have the need to knead (hahaha…), but it sure is nice to have a few options.  This one will knock your socks off.  That is one hundred percent guaranteed.


inspired by a recipe in my new favorite book –an everlasting meal

2 cups whole wheat flour (if you can get the whole grain, germ included do it.  It makes all the difference in the world)

2 cups all-purpose flour

1/4 tsp. yeast

1 tsp. salt

1.5 cups of water

Mix everything together in a bowl let sit for 18 hours or so.  If you keep your house like I do, you will need to wrap it in a blanket or two.  Take the dough out onto a floured surface and fold over itself a few times.  Let is rest covered in a napkin for 15 minutes.  Take a cloth napkin and rub flour and cornmeal into it.  Fold the dough (ok sort of knead it) once or twice until you have a nice round ball.  Place in half the napkin and cover it up with the other half.  Let is rise for 2 hours.  Heat up your oven to 450 with a cast iron or enamel pot that has a lid that fits tightly inside.  When it’s all good and hot flip your dough over so the seam is face down into the hot pot.  I have been adding a sprig of rosemary on the top.  COver and place in your oven for 30 minutes.  Take the lid off and cook until nicely browned about 10 more minutes.  Let cool almost completely, slice and devour.


I had a couple of cuties who entertained themselves watching cars go by this afternoon.  They pulled the chairs up to the front window, hopped in and had a good old time.  


And then ate some warm buttery bread.

#52 Artos (A Greek Celebration Bread) resolution complete.

52 weeks ago I made a resolution about bread.  A simple task.  One new variety per week, made by my own two hands.  The task was not all together daunting, but mostly exciting.  I envisioned myself an expert by the time December rolled around.  My kitchen would be brimming with tools that could equip the finest of bakeries.  Never again would the cellophane wrapped store-bought loaf have to enter my bread box.

While it is rare to have to pick up a soft and squishy loaf (as my boys have deemed them), it does happen.  I am not by any stretch of the imagination an expert.  I believe myself to be only at the beginning.  I have picked up a baking stone, a paint scraper (the perfect tool for dough) and a sturdy piece of linen over the past year, but that is all that I can claim for tools on my bread baking expeditions.

More than a resolution, I have found love.  I have found comfort in the rhythm of baking.  I have lived by the rising and falling of bubbly dough.  Cookbooks have become my bibles.  Tasting, tearing, dipping, and smearing… these actions spell out my days.  Bread has given me something to focus on.  To count on.

The unpredictability of a new move, knowing not a soul for miles and miles, the solitude of a home nestled in the swamp lands of an isolated area, the chaos and sometimes exasperation of mothering two small boys; these things can add up to a lonesome life.  I promise you.

But somehow this whole bread thing sparked something inside me.


A resolution can bring on hope.  It doesn’t have to tell you no.  It doesn’t have to dictate your every mouthful, or every word.  All I did was keep at it, and I found myself a new woman.  This may sound humourous, it does to me!  Bread cannot change a person.  But it did.

It connected me to the past.  Women and men through out all of history made these very loaves.  They cultured yeasts and experimented with temperatures.  They shared meals, and delivered loaves to neighbors.

It gave me satisfaction that I was doing something that very well could affect my family for good.  Never again will sunbeam feel like the epitome of perfection in the world of bread to that giant of a man who I share a name with.  Yes, he may still prefer this for a bologna sandwich here and there, but I know in my heart of hearts the crusty exterior, the chewy interior and oh the fresh-baked smell that fills our house has won him over.

My boys.  My boys expect the best.  My youngest first word, shortly after the obligatory mama and dada was of course, “bread”.  I watch them in their tiny kitchen kneading smooshing, sharing, and enjoying that very thing their mama spends time on.  Bread.

It is contagious.  It is habitual.  It is the bread of life.  My bread of life.

I don’t know what the future holds for this years resolution for me, but do yourself a favor; make one this year.  And make it good.  Point your life in a direction of joy.  Fall in love.  Make it tangible.


Artos (A Celebration Bread)

1 cup barm (a starter)

3.5 cups bread flour

1 tsp salt

1.5 tsp. yeast

1 tsp. cinnamon

1/4 tsp nutmeg

1/4 tsp allspice

1/4 tsp cloves

1 tsp minced orange and lemon zest

1 tsp almond extract

2 eggs

1/4 cup honey

1/4 cup olive oil

3/4 cup of whole milk

Stir together dry ingredients.  Mix in the wet.  Knead for ten long minutes until it passes the window pane test.  (You will be able to stretch a piece until you can see through it but it does not tear)  Place in an oiled bowl to proof until doubled.

Split into one large chunk and form a boule (a very tight ball) and let rise until doubled.  The smaller piece should be placed in the refrigerator wrapped in plastic.  Preheat the oven to 350.

Roll out your small piece forming the shapes in the pictures below.  Place in the oven onto your stone or a sheet tray will do fine.  When it registers 190 or if your brave, it sounds hollow it is done.  About 40 minutes.

As soon as it comes out glaze with a heated up mixture of 2 tbsp of the following, honey sugar and water, and 1 tsp of orange extract.  Sprinkle on sesame seeds if desired.


Bread #51 The mother loaf. Miche (a sourdough)

This.  This is the image that I have pined over for the last 51 weeks.  Perhaps the last 5 years in fact.  This loaf always seemed unattainable.  Too difficult.  I am not good enough at following instructions.  I am not prepared to knead over 10 cups of whole wheat flour.  I am not a bread baker’s apprentice!


So I thought at least.

Crusty, grainy, immense, perfectly round, and heavy with love was precisely what I wanted to create for our Winter Solstice Celebration.  Foods in the shape of a circle (the sun) are encouraged on this day of seasonal change.  And I was going to create this in the way I love best of all.  Bread.

Starting a week prior to the event I made a rye seed starter.  I fed her daily, and then transformed her into a barm.  This is the starter I get to keep forever.  I once met a woman with a starter that was over 50 years old.  She has remained my idol to this day.  Now is my opportunity to begin this half a century long aspiration.  May father time be with me!

Once the barm was complete, two days before the big day, I began the starter for this particular bread.  All these steps were simple enough.  The morning of, I awoke early to warm up my baby.  I placed her on the counter, and went about our morning routine.  Once she was all cozy at room temperature, I sliced her up and mixed her with seven large cups of hardly milled (it seemed) local flour. Can I tell you what a dream come true it was this summer to find locally grown and milled whole wheat flour?  The stuff is like nothing you can buy in the store.  It is an entirely different beast all together.

When the kneading began, even the 50 breads of my past year could not have prepared me.  I tell the truth when I say my chest and biceps are still sore.  I was sweating.  Really and truly sweating.  The tie of my bath robe was flapping wildly around my fleece pajamas and my frazzled hair was sticking to my forehead.  My children were needing me, but I shooed them away and pressed on.  I kneaded her.

It amazed me when she rose.  She rose like crazy.  It is evident my home is not lacking in the natural yeast found everywhere in this world.  I rolled her tightly into a boule.  A little too tight (my only mistake… brush my shoulders off… they are covered in flour!  A little bread humor for you. take it or leave it, ok?).  The loaf was a bit more round than flat.  But it worked out.

I scraped a paring knife across a sharpening stone with careful scrutiny.  I didn’t want the pound sign I would carve on top of the loaf to be disgraced with a dull slice.  Success.  Into the oven she went.  I waited with the anticipation of Christmas morning.  Luckily I had the time to, for my boys were fast asleep, the guests were yet to arrive, and my home (for once) was spotless.  Everything was in order.  I stood in front of the oven impatiently.  Only the weeklong effort of my bread dreams come true was left to make my preparations for the evening complete.

I never even peeked, unless it was to pour water into the cast iron dutifully, creating a steam bath the romans would have envied.  When it was finally time to take her out, I opened the oven wide-eyed and grinning.  She was a thing to behold.


I love bread.  I really, really do.  

bread #50 Food processor bread

I am sure I have mentioned it once or twice.  Possibly whined or complained a touch as well.  I have no food processor or mixer.  Oh, the horror?!  While a whole year (and thousands of years of perfectly edible bread making throughout history) behind me with no electronic devices at my whim, proves quite clearly they are in fact, not necessary, I can say with complete satisfaction they are lovely to have.

Peanut butter!  Almond butter!  Hummus!  Mustard!  Pesto!  All of these fantastically ground up and smoothed out products magically appeared out of my three stage bowl cuisinart heavy-duty food processor.  Have I mentioned how much I love my mom and dad?  Oh the gift giving season is among us and I am quite the grateful daughter.  Thank you!

After the traditional pastes were jarred, labeled, and stored I decided to flip the through the pages of my cuisinart cookbook that came along with the machine.  To my surprise there were many recipes for unlikely items that would come from this oscillating blade, bread being the one that (obviously) caught my eye!

While it wasn’t my favorite loaf, it was convenient and the mess was non existent!  Quite the change from my normal course of bread baking.

Here you have it:

Dissolve 2 1/4 tsp of yeast in 1/3 cup of warm water with 1 tsp of sugar

With the dough blade in the large bowl add 2 cups of white and two cups of wheat flour, 4 tablespoons of butter and 1/2 tsp of salt.  Mix for about 15 seconds.  Pour in 1 cup of cold water slowly until it forms a ball, about 45 seconds.  This is unbelievable to me.  45 seconds is equivalent to like 15 minutes of kneading by hand?  I think not.  Perhaps this why the bread was under par.  Edible,  sandwich-able, but under par none the less.

Let rise in an oiled bowl for about 1.5 hours, until doubled.  Butter two 9 by 5 loaf pans.  Punch down your dough and let rest for about 10 minutes.  Divide into two loaves, shape and plop them in.  Let them rise for another hour until the dough reaches the tops of the pans.  Preheat the oven to 400 bake for 30 minutes and let cool.


And because I took no picture of the loaves… I decided to include this one for the cuteness factor of it.  Brotherly love.  Oh thank-you-thank-you for showing me there IS in fact a good reason to have two so close in age.


#49 Salt dough ornaments

There are certain days where you feel like beating your head against the wall.  Like somehow the pain and monotony and inability to feel or think of anything else will drown out your other thoughts.

And then there are days where you do it.

Yesterday was one of these days.  No naps.  No rest.  Lots of tears, and fighting.  Lots of “mine!”‘s and “no!”‘s and sad to say a few “damn it!”‘s, (both from myself and a little three-year old who damn it, picked up the habit).  Luckily, a responsible man walked through the door around five and took the reigns from this defeated mama.

Bedtime was dramatically easier with two adults on hand and no naps behind these boys of mine.  I decided to follow suit and hopped into a cozy bed cuddled to a fat cat, a tiny dog and a giant.  I set myself up with a hot cup of chamomile tea and my book.  Ahh.. the simple comforts of life.  I didn’t last long before my eyes got droopy and I dropped off to sleep…

and then?  I woke up.  In the morning.  We all just slept all night.  Oh the glory!  And what a difference some shut-eye makes!  So, today we took on the world!  We cleaned the coop!  And organized the yard!  And made garlands!  And cut mistletoe!  And made salt dough ornaments!  And just played in the rain!

IMG_6118 IMG_6122 IMG_6125 IMG_6128 IMG_6135 IMG_6142 IMG_6146

Ah… one day on one day off.. so is life I suppose.  Perhaps, this time I will be granted two in a row?  Come oooon thursday…

No Bake Salt Dough Ornaments

3.5 cups of flour

1.5 cups of corn starch


in a separate bowl mix

1 cup of salt

1 tablespoon glycerin or petroleum jelly

1.5 cups of very hot water

Mix the two together and knead for 10 minutes…

roll, cut, slice, and let dry. (and don’t forget to poke holes in them to hang)

paint with acrylics and dust generously with glitter.


then deck the halls.