|"Two loaves have I, of comfort and despair..."|
Temporal issues aside, you only need water, flour, yeast, and a pair of hands to put a loaf of bread together. (And yet, look at the ingredients label on supermarket bread, and you'll see all manner of scientific-sounding items.) Yeast, the only ingredient that might not be in your fridge this moment, is easily obtainable from the grocery store. Find it in little packets in the baking aisle. There are a few different kinds; my recommendation is instant yeast, since you can just mix it in with the dry goods and call it a day.
This is my favorite bread combination. It also doubles as my pizza dough. (Versatile stuff!)
A note on flour: For this particular recipe, it isn't all that important what kind (or kinds; mixing is allowed) of flour you use. All-purpose flour works perfectly fine, but bread flour will give you a softer, chewier bread. I often use ½ to 1 c. of whole wheat flour as part of the mix.
|This dough has come together.|
A note about countertops: It is perfectly fine to put food items directly on a countertop as long as you keep it clean and sanitized. Clean means no crumbs, drips, or other grodiness. Use soap and water. Sanitized means spraying with white vinegar, counting to ten, then wiping with a clean cloth (a method I much prefer over using chemical sanitizers for what I hope are obvious ingestion-related reasons). As a side note, don't use your countertop as a cutting board (unless it's made of butcher block or something). But do use it to knead bread.
HOW TO KNEAD BREAD BY HAND:
|I let my bread rise fireside.|
Now that you've spent an hour on Facebook (oops!), make sure your countertop is still sufficiently floured, and prepare whatever vessels you'll be baking in or on by spraying or brushing with olive oil (and, optionally, sprinkling with cornmeal). You can use a round pan, a square pan, a loaf pan, or even just roll the dough into a ball and put it on a sheet pan. The possibilities are as endless as your supply of bakeware. Anyway, punch down the dough and turn it out onto the counter, forming it back into a ball. Now take a bowl scraper, a spatula, or some other knife-like thing that isn't a knife and divide the dough in half. Put each half in its place, cover with a clean cloth, and let rise for another hour or until doubled. Take a stab at that monologue again. (Ooh! Modern Family is on...)
|Stretch or mold dough to fit pan.|
Bread can be stored in a paper bag (about 2-3 days), in a plastic zip-top bag in the pantry (7-10 days), or wrapped in aluminum foil in a plastic zip-top bag in the freezer (??? days). Do not store your bread, or anyone's bread, in the refrigerator; it dries out. To thaw frozen bread, remove from plastic bag (but not from foil) and stick it in a 400°F oven for about 10-15 minutes.
But, seriously. The monologue.
Rosencrantz and Guildenstern Are Dead, a tragicomedy by Tom Stoppard. Premiered at Cranston Street Hall in Edinburgh on 24 August 1966, presented by the Oxford Theatre Group as part of the Edinburgh Fringe Festival.