Words like ‘Christmas’ and ‘New Year’ immediately fill our heads with images of family, laughter and great, delicious food. And while we relish in the fun, as the New Year approaches, we all feel the pinch of our belts and the guilt which usually results in many of us making resolutions which don’t see the end of the first week.
We have just returned from a week’s holiday with family and friends where all of the meals were lovingly and expertly prepared by the men, whilst the rest of us sat back and enjoyed the aromas emanating from the kitchen. The most memorable of these being homemade bread. Let’s face it, there is something very special about freshly baked bread. Most of us get transported back in time and memories of homeliness and nourishment are conjured up. These guys have inspired us to make a New Year’s resolution to be more creative in the kitchen during 2016!
The simplicity of sharing food, the joy that it brings reaches beyond borders and brings loved ones closer. After all, one of the most endearing things a parent can hear is when a grown up child calls and spends five minutes listing the foods that they are missing with a reminiscent, “Mom, your cooking is what I miss the most!”.
In the coming year we have planned some interesting and helpful blogs. We will share tips on how to pack for your move, what to unpack first and what to buy when you arrive. But before this year kicks off, we want to start out 2016 by breaking virtual bread with you.
It is often said that the first meal in a new home is one of the most important meals you will have and we can’t agree more. So we want to invite you into our kitchen while we bake a loaf of bread.
It is so simple, so quick (30 minutes!) and so yummy – be it summer or winter – this will be the perfect first meal in any home. Baking was always something left to the professionals so when we say, that this is easy, you best believe it!
There is something completely magical about the welcoming smell of freshly baked bread, the warmth as the butter slides over a steaming slice. Upon tasting homemade bread, people will assume that you are some sort of a culinary magician and when this happens, we hope you will just smile and say, “Don’t be silly, this is a simple peasant bread that a friend shared with me.”
So sit a while with us before rushing into 2016.
My Mother’s Peasant Bread
• 4 cups all-purpose flour
• 2 teaspoons salt
• 2 cups lukewarm water
• 2 to 3 teaspoons sugar
• 1 packet active-dry yeast (10g)
1. Mix the dough in a large mixing bowl by stirring together the flour, salt, sugar, and instant yeast. Add the water. Mix until the flour is absorbed.
2. Cover bowl with a tea towel or plastic wrap and set aside in a warm spot to rise for at least an hour.
3. Preheat the oven to 220ºC. Grease the oven-safe bread pan
and scoop up the batter and plop it in the bowl in one fell swoop.
4. Let the dough rise for about 20 to 30 minutes on the countertop near the oven. Twenty minutes in this spot usually is enough for my loaf.
5. Bake for 15 minutes. Reduce the heat to 160ºC and bake
for 15 to 17 minutes longer. Remove from the oven and turn the loaf onto a cooling rack.
Allow to cool for 10 minutes before cutting, if you can wait that long!
Wishing you a warm welcome to 2016.
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