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Breaking for Bread

I know. I’m supposed to write about baby gear and toys. And I haven’t even been doing such a great job of staying on top of that during the insanity of the holidays. But for just a moment, I want to talk about bread.

On November 8th, the New York Times published a recipe for bread that requires no kneading. It promised a loaf that was so superb, it could hold its own against the finest artisan breads in the world. Soon, the recipe was traveling across the globe and making waves on the internet.

Admittedly, I’m coming late to the game. I only just heard about all this commotion this weekend, while visiting friends and family in New York. But my mother tried the recipe while I was home, and the bread lived up to the hype.

For parents, this is a boon. Imagine a 3 minute baking project that you start before bedtime, and eat for dinner the following day. Even if you’re working full time, it’s a great weekend project. Basically, you toss together flour, instant yeast, salt and water and let it sit for 12-18 hours. It’s fascinating to watch the dough develop all on its own. It bubbles and forms a sticky, stringy texture. After all that, simply place the dough on a floured surface and fold it over once or twice. It rises once more, and then bakes in a covered pot in a hot oven. The active time is minimal. The cleanup is painless. And the hot, crusty bread was a winner with both of my kids.

So, even if you’ve never had the courage to make homemade bread before, try this recipe. You can do it together with your kids, or do it when they’re not around.

I made it for the first time today, and was horrified to find my kids poking holes in the dough with chopsticks during the second rise (they were “decorating the pie”). But as my 4-year-old predicted, the hot oven made the holes disappear and the bread was still delicious. It’s a pretty foolproof recipe.

The only thing you need is a pot that is oven safe to 450 degrees (and some good oven mitts). For the original New York Times recipe, click here. To watch a video about the recipe, click here. To read Rose Levy Beranbaum’s updated version of the recipe (complete with volume measurements), click here. If you’re curious and want to learn more, just google “no knead bread recipe” – and don’t say I didn’t warn you – there’s a lot of people talking about this.

But there’s something so nice, so down-to-earth, about the idea of a simple bread recipe uniting so many people.

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