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Rustic No-Knead Bread Loaf

Kneading bread has always been therapy for me.  There is something so therapeutic about kneading bread over and over and forming a supple smooth mound; like a babies butt. It’s enjoyable and relaxing. But time ticks away, and every now and again, I’m in a pinch for not enough time.  This recipe is great for preparing, leaving alone, and coming back to when you’re ready.  Not only is it easy, it’s incredibly delicious. I hope you find this recipe as easy as I do, and as enjoyable.

DOUGH:

3 cups organic unbleached all-purpose flour

1/4 tsp. dry yeast

1 1/2 tsp. sea salt

1 1/2 cups filtered warm water

1/4 cup organic corn meal

1/8 cup olive oil

additional pinch of sea salt

1/4 cup blend of sunflower seeds, chia seeds, sesame seeds, flax seeds (optional)

parchment paper, dutch oven

DOUGH DIRECTIONS: In a mixing bowl, combine the flour and sea salt. Whisk.  In a separate bowl, combine the warm water and yeast. Whisk. Combine the wet to the dry and fold in using a rubber spatula.  Roughly mix it all together. The mound does not need to be smooth. It will look jagged and pointy. Cover with a clean kitchen towel or cover with plastic wrap. Set aside in a warm location for 8-12 hours. When you see the mound after the time is over, it will be bulbous and smoothed out.  This is due to the yeast working its wonder and the time allowed to ferment (fermentation process allows for easier digestion of bread/ much like sourdough) After this process, line a dutch oven with a piece of parchment paper and sprinkle with 1/8 cup cornmeal.  Roll the dough into the dutch oven and cover for one additional hour in a warm location.

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BAKING DIRECTIONS: Lower all racks in oven to the lowest possible allowed. Preheat oven to 425. Drizzle with olive oil. Sprinkle the top with the remaining 1/8 cup cornmeal, optional seeds, and sprinkle of sea salt. Bake for 35 minutes on lower rack with lid on. When the 35 minutes is over, bake with lid off at 425 for an additional 5 minutes or until golden brown.  Allow to cool before cutting.

*** I have allowed much longer rising time.  I’ve prepared the dough at 2 pm and not allowed the 1 hour additional rising time until 9 am the next morning. It just gets the dough to have more of a sour taste; which I prefer (much like a sourdough)

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Crispy Crackers

Why make your own crackers, you might ask? Any mother could understand why.  This recipe takes a total of 25 minutes of my time. That being said, by the time I strap my three young daughters into their carseats, and make my way to the grocery store, and meander down the aisles with their harmonic wants and persistent grabbing at products, and then return to strapping them back into the car and back, and make my way home…. you get the point. I could be done without ever leaving home.  Plus, they are fresh and I know exactly what goes into them. The temporary displacement of scrambling for a quick grocery jaunt, is completely eliminated.  This is a recipe my mom passed along to me, and one I wish to share with you. These are delicious!

INGREDIENTS:

2 cups all-purpose flour

3/4 tsp. salt

1/4 cup olive oil or butter

1/2 cup water, plus more as needed

1/4 cup sesame seeds

DIRECTIONS:

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. In a bowl, mix the flour and salt. Then add the oil or butter and water. Lightly blend the ingredients, adding more water as needed.

2. Roll the dough on a lightly floured surface until it has reached a thickness of no more then 1/8 inch.   If the dough is thicker then 1/8 inch, the crackers won’t be as crisp as they should be, so this is important.

3. Transfer the dough to an ungreased baking sheet, and lightly mark the dough into 2-inch squares using a knife. Don’t cut all the way through the dough.  Next, use a fork to poke tiny holes in the top of each cracker.

4. Sprinkle the crackers with salt and sesame seeds, and bake until crisp for 15-20 minutes. If you crackers are more then 1/8 think, extend the cooking time. Makes 36 crackers.

* I have tried the seeds two different ways, one the way the recipe suggests (topping before baking), the other is mixing them into the dough before adding the wet to dry. I prefer the second way to the first because the seeds and nuts stay in the cracker, as opposed to falling off.  Also, I added flax, chia, and sunflower.  Be creative. This recipe is just the beginning of what you can alter to make your own way.

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My at home co-op brings fresh vegetables every other day.

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Here, I topped the crackers with home made hummus, fresh picked mache, garden picked arugula, home grown lemon cucumbers, and heirloom tomatoes.