No-Knead Bread for Beginners

bread1.jpg

It’s Mental Health Week! Seeing as baking is proven to be good for your mental health, I wanted to celebrate by sharing one of my favourite baking recipes: No-Knead Bread.

Like most novice bakers, I thought making bread would be too difficult to master. The stakes seemed much higher than they did for cookies or quick breads. I was afraid of failing after dedicating so much time to making a loaf of bread, so I avoided it. But as my baking skills improved over the years, I wanted to try something more challenging. Enter no-knead bread.

The recipe I’ve shared below is a mash-up of other recipes, namely Mark Bittman’s recipe from the New York Times, Mark Bittman’s recipe from How to Bake Everything (which has different proportions), and The Kitchn’s no-knead bread recipe. My first few loaves had problems (too gummy, too bland, unsatisfactory crust), so in an obsessive quest to resolve these issues, I turned bread into a science experiment.

This is my recipe for no-knead bread. I have baked this bread repeatedly and adjusted the recipe to suit my idea of what a perfect loaf looks and tastes like. That’s the cool thing about bread: it’s part science experiment, part magic. The slightest adjustments can yield different results. It’s all good, though; in the end, you have bread.

innertexture copy.jpg

You can make delicious bread, too. No-knead bread isn’t difficult, and you don’t need any fancy equipment, but it does take time; this recipe will take 22-24 hours from start to finish. Most of that time is hands-off, obviously, but if you’re baking bread for a specific occasion, be sure to start your dough early enough to avoid disappointment! If you put a batch of dough together before you go to bed tonight, you can have this bread for dinner tomorrow.

And finally, remember to trust and believe. This yields a very wet, slack dough that may look different from what you may have seen elsewhere. As long as your yeast is working (you’ll be able to see and smell it), then you’re on the right track. Don’t give up!

Continue reading “No-Knead Bread for Beginners”

Advertisements

Spring Pastel M&M’s Cookies

2017-04-10 16.50.42.jpg

I have a bit of an obsession with limited-edition holiday-themed snack foods. Spotting Pumpkin Spice Oreos or Snowflake Ritz Crackers at the grocery store definitely makes my heart beat a little faster.

2017-04-10 17.18.00-1

So when I came across Spring Pastel M&M’s in the candy aisle a few weeks ago, I couldn’t help myself. I knew they’d would make cute cookies for Easter, so I threw a bag into the cart when Adrian wasn’t looking and hid them away until the snow (finally) melted.

M&M’s are  an excellent cookie mix-in because they don’t melt or burn easily, the colours are really fun, and they’re not too sweet in small quantities.

Use a stand mixer (or handheld mixer) to cream the butter and sugars, and take your time — spending several minutes on this step helps ensure that your dough is well-aerated, which will help you achieve a great texture in your final cookie.

A note: this recipe is adapted from Smitten Kitchen’s Salted Chocolate Chunk Cookies, which is adapted from Ashley Rodriguez’s original recipe. It’s my favourite cookie recipe and never lets me down. If you’ve never had a salted chocolate chip cookie, the idea of sprinkling salt on top may sound a bit weird, but don’t skip it; I promise the end result is delicious. Continue reading “Spring Pastel M&M’s Cookies”

Things I Read This Week: April 7, 2017

cheesedanish

How was your week? I woke up to snow this morning, so I’m hiding out with a book and coffee until it melts. It’s also the 100th anniversary of the Battle of Vimy Ridge, so if you’re a history nerd like me, you should watch CBC’s 360 documentary, narrated by Peter Mansbridge. Here’s what I’ve been reading:

The Kitchn – How To Make a Cheese Danish for a Crowd
How amazing does this danish look? I’m visiting family next week and can’t wait to make this for brunch on Easter Sunday.

Wired – An Aircraft Design That’ll Make You Love the Middle Seat. No Joke
I’m six feet tall and mildly claustrophobic, so unless I’m traveling with two other friends in my row, I always book an aisle seat to avoid hours of anxiety and battles over the armrest. This new, wider middle seat design looks like a great concept and I hope to see it on planes in the near future — I’ll probably still choose an aisle seat, but at least I won’t feel so badly for the person in the middle!

Vice – Life After Betraying the Hells Angels
A fascinating glimpse into how the witness protection program changes someone’s life.

Food & Wine – 98-Year-Old Man Bakes Over 144 Apple Pies to Honor His Late Wife
“Everything [Leo Keller] bakes, he gives away for free. He whips up baked goods for the sick, for fellow widowers and widows, and even provides baked goods for funeral receptions. ‘To see the smile on their face. That’s worth all the money in the world. Nobody can buy that,’ Keller, whose caregiver occasionally helps make the baked goods, commented. ‘That smile means so much to me.'”

Munchies – These 3 Dudes Drove 1,000 Miles to Try the Only McDonald’s Pizza in America
I remember eating McDonald’s pizza as a kid and being less-than-impressed — after my friend’s “Make Your Own Pizza Party” at Pizza Hut in 1993, every other chain restaurant pizza paled in comparison — so I don’t know if I would spend two days traveling to West Virginia to try it again. How far would you drive for a taste of vintage McDonald’s menu items? I wonder if they also still carry the Arch Deluxe

Things I Read This Week: March 24, 2017

https://smittenkitchendotcom.files.wordpress.com/2014/10/carrot-cake-with-cider-and-olive-oil1.jpg?w=656

How was your week? Listen, I know what you’re thinking: “Sarah, you just posted about carrot cake a couple of weeks ago.” And you’re not wrong. But hear me out! First of all, this is carrot bread. And second of all … okay, fine. You’re right. Here’s what I’ve been reading:

Smitten Kitchen – Carrot Cake with Cider and Olive Oil
Look, if you love carrot bread, you love it, and if you hate it, you should move on to one of the other links in this post. I promise* to lay off the carrot-based baked goods in the future.

Vulture – The Year of Living Publicly
You’ve probably seen this profile of Jenny Slate posted all over the Internet — I guess the Chris Evans connection makes this story pretty juicy — but you should read it because Jenny Slate seems like a hilarious, genuinely nice person. Another good read: Chris Evans Fights Back (the title makes it sound like he and Jenny are fighting, but really it’s just about being a superhero).

Food & Wine – How Your Instagram Posts Created a New Starbucks Drink
It’s satisfying to see a brand listen to customers and move so quickly to put a popular “secret” item on the menu to offer a consistent experience, like Starbucks did with the Cold Buster, though I’m still on the fence about steamed lemonade. Has anyone tried this drink yet? Did you like it?

Washington Post – SNL to Finish a Record-Shattering Season by Doing Something It’s Never Done Before
Beginning on April 15th, SNL will go live coast-to-coast for its final 4 episodes of the season, airing live at 11:30pm ET/8:30pm PT. As someone who watched SNL religiously during the Will Ferrell years before completely abandoning it for over a decade, I think that the show’s sudden resurgence in popularity is fascinating. Will you be watching these episodes live in your time zone?

Science of Us – There’s a Psychological Explanation for Why Tetris Is So Addicting
Did you know individual Tetris pieces are called Tetrominoes? Isn’t that just the best?

*note: promise not binding.

Five Pie Recipes to Try on Pi Day

It’s March 14th, aka 3/14 or 3.14, and you know that that means — Pi Day! Seeing as so much of the East Coast is housebound due to a blizzard, it’s a great day to tackle a pie project, because pie is a) delicious, and b) a great way to pass the time when you’re stuck indoors. I’ve rounded up a few of my favourite savoury and sweet pie recipes, most of which can be made using pantry ingredients and won’t require a trip to the grocery store:

Continue reading “Five Pie Recipes to Try on Pi Day”

Things I Read This Week: March 10, 2017

https://i0.wp.com/cdn-image.foodandwine.com/sites/default/files/200901-r-xl-classic-carrot-cake-with-fluffy-cream-cheese-frosting.jpg

How was your week? I’m visiting my parents for the weekend, which means lots of good meals and a visit to my favourite flea market with my dad on Sunday morning. Can’t complain! Here’s what I’ve been reading:

Food & Wine – Classic Carrot Cake with Fluffy Cream Cheese Frosting
I see this cake in my immediate future. Mainly because I need this cake in my immediate future.

Bustle – Here’s How The Women’s Strike Affected The Workday
Some stats on how the Day Without a Woman affected Wednesday’s workday across various industries. Also: How Men Failed the Women’s Strike Before it Even Started.

Glamour – Chrissy Teigen Opens Up for the First Time About Her Postpartum Depression
A million emoji praise hands for Chrissy Teigen’s essay about dealing with anxiety and depression after the birth of her first child. This is an important discussion and I’m glad Queen Chrissy is joining the conversation!

The New York Times – Opinion: White Resentment on the Night Shift at Walmart
Tracie McMillan is a food writer who went undercover at Walmart and Applebee’s to study the American food supply chain for her book, The American Way of Eating. Like J.D. Vance’s excellent Hillbilly Elegy, which the NYT selected as one of their 6 books to help understand the current political climate in America, McMillan’s opinion piece gives us a glimpse of why things went the way they did in November. I don’t think we’ll ever stop looking for answers, but this is a start.

Vulture – The One Scene That Got William Daniels to Play Mr. Feeny on Boy Meets World
Raise your hand if you grew up in ABC TGIF’s Boy Meets World era and wished Mr. Feeny was the principal at your school. (Also, raise your hand if you’re now getting ready to re-watch all 7 seasons of this show as soon as you’re done catching up on Riverdale …)

Things I Read This Week: February 17, 2017

dark_chocolate_and_sea_salt_tart_with_a_ginger_snap_crust____sundaysnowday

How was your week? Monday is a holiday and the new season of Chef’s Table is out on Netflix, so I’m looking forward to a long weekend spent planning lavish food-themed international vacations (a girl can dream, right?). Here’s what I’ve been reading:

Food & Wine – Michelle Obama and Martha Stewart Will Appear on MasterChef Junior
Ooh, this season is going to be good!

Science of Us – Psychologists Explain Why Ikea Is a Relationship Death-Trap
Forget the actual trip to Ikea — where any arguing can be placated with a well-timed trip to the hot dog stand — it’s assembling the furniture that always seems to bring out the worst in me. My brain just doesn’t seem to work that way.

https://pbs.twimg.com/media/C3D3iG5UoAA7wnz.jpg

The Atlantic – What Mirrors Tell Us About Animal Minds
“Are eagles intelligent enough to recognize their own reflections?” Also: #notallcorvids.

Vulture – Rap Is Less Homophobic Than Ever, But It Has a Long Way to Go
“To be a rap fan that identifies as anything other than male and straight is to wade against a current pushing back at your very being, to be constantly driven by your heart to decisions your mind ought to reject.”

Ask Polly – I Got Sick, Dumped, and Fired. What Now?
“No one is watching you closely. No clock is ticking down. True emancipation means escaping the ravages of ego, escaping that second-to-second hunger and confusion that an insatiable ego entails. Emancipation means having the power to say: I am what I am, for better or for worse. This is me. I am here.”

(Pictured above: I recently made Smitten Kitchen’s dark chocolate tart with gingersnap crust and it was every bit as good as it looked. I sprinkled the top with Maldon salt prior to baking, which was a good decision. You could also easily make the crust with graham crackers if gingersnaps aren’t your thing.)

Instagram Favourites: Food Edition

I get so much cooking inspiration from Instagram that it’s hard to imagine a time when it didn’t exist. Seeing other people cook and bake beautiful things has given me the confidence to try new recipes and cobble together recipes of my own. In honour of Valentine’s Day, I thought I’d round up a few of the food-related Instagram accounts I love best … Continue reading “Instagram Favourites: Food Edition”

Things I Read This Week: January 20, 2017

salted-chocolate-chunk-cookies1(via Smitten Kitchen)

How are you doing? I can’t pretend that this is a great day — the U.S. presidential inauguration has been on in the background (on mute) all afternoon, and … it’s real, guys. This is happening. Here’s what I’ve been reading:

Smitten Kitchen – Salted Chocolate Chunk Cookies
First things first: making a much-needed batch of these cookies to I have something to snack on while reading the news today and through the weekend.

New York Magazine – The Complicated, Controversial, Historic, Inspiring Women’s March
Linda Sarsour, a Palestinian-American Muslim activist who is one of the March’s four national co-chairs, makes a great statement in this interview: “As women of color who came into this effort, we came in not only to mobilize and organize but also to educate, to argue that we can’t talk about women’s rights, about reproductive rights, about equal pay, without also talking about race and class.” This is so important to remember. As a white girl who grew in the suburbs with limited exposure to other races, classes, and creeds, I have been working hard to broaden my understanding of feminism and make sure that the feminism I practice is inclusive. It’s hard work, and sometimes I make mistakes, but I’m learning every day. I hope the turnout tomorrow in Washington and elsewhere is MASSIVE. Let’s make some noise.

If you’re heading to Queen’s Park for the Toronto march tomorrow, don’t forget that there will be no subway service between Downsview and St George stations. Shuttle buses will not be running either, so plan accordingly.

Vulture – Billy Eichner Is Trying to Talk to You
Such an honest and interesting interview. “For me, [coming out] was a no-brainer. My personal life is too important to me and it informs too much of my work for me to have ever considered making any other decision.”

Fast Company – How Employee Burnout Became An Epidemic And What It Might Take To Fix It
On the heels of Chatelaine’s survey results announcement last week, I’ve been thinking a lot about the causes and consequences of burnout. According to Chatelaine’s findings, 16% of Canadian women ages 35-45 fantasize about quitting their jobs every day. It’s hard to pinpoint a culprit — is it office culture? Workload? Compensation? Bad bosses or toxic coworkers? The women in my own life seem to agree that it’s

Glamour – These Never-Before-Seen Pics of President Obama Playing in the Snow Will Melt Your Heart
I really hope Pete Souza is working on a book.