Best. Bread. Ever.

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So I saw lots of people raving about how awesome no-knead bread is. Super easy and delicious.

“Yeah, right,” I thought. “You have to knead bread for ages to get a good crumb.” Boy, was I wrong.

Faced with having to knead bread by hand (horrors!) since we can’t afford a stand mixer just yet, I decided to give no-knead bread a try. After all, Hannah had made it and loved it. It had to be okay.

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It’s more than okay. WAY more than okay. The crust is crunchy and the inside is soft, light and flavorful. And it takes about 5 minutes to mix up. In all honesty, I would make bread much less often if it weren’t for this recipe. Downside? Well, there’s no more excuse for buying store-bought bread when you can make it so easily.

Think you can’t possibly tackle making bread at home? Give this recipe a try. You’ll be so happy you did.

Notes:

Not only is this bread so quick & easy to throw together (you literally just dump all the ingredients in a bowl & mix it a bit with a big spoon), but it’s also very versatile. I have made this with sour milk in place of water and whole wheat flour in place of some of the white with awesome results.

If you must, you can skip the steaming step. The last couple of times I made this bread I forgot that part with no ill effects. But I highly recommend steaming for the best crust.

I really like shaping the dough into a boule, but you can also shape it into logs or braids.

No Knead French Bread | Printable Page | Makes 2 large loaves

From Artisan Bread in 5 Minutes a Day via Honey & Jam

Ingredients:

  • 3 cups of lukewarm water
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons active dry yeast
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons coarse salt
  • 6 1/2 cups all-purpose flour

Directions:

1) Place the water, yeast and salt in a very large mixing bowl. Dump in the flour and mix with a wooden spoon until everything is nice and moist. And you’re done mixing!

2) Cover the bowl loosely and let sit until it has risen and deflated a little. Now your dough is ready to be baked or stored in the refrigerator until ready to use.

3) To bake the bread: (If the dough is coming from the refrigerator, let it come to room temp before continuing) Wet your hands with water to prevent your hands from sticking and grab a piece of dough (I usually make half a recipe and use all the dough for one loaf, but you can make smaller loaves if you wish). Form it into a boule by pulling the sides of the dough towards the underside of the dough ball and rotating the dough until you get a roundish shape with a smooth surface. You can also shape the dough into logs or braids.

4) Transfer the dough to a piece of parchment paper (recommended) or a cornmeal-dusted cutting board. Let the dough rest and rise for about 40 minutes.

5) About 20 minutes before you’re ready to bake the bread, put a cast iron skillet or pizza stone on the center rack of the oven and place a roasting pan (I use a 13×9-inch pan) on the bottom rack of the oven. Preheat the oven to 450° F.

6) Dust some flour over the top of your risen loaf and cut a few slashes into the top about 1/4-inch deep. Transfer dough onto the skillet or pizza stone, quickly pour 1 cup of hot tap water into the broiler pan and shut the oven door to keep the steam inside. Bake for 30-40 minutes or until the crust is nice and brown. Cool completely before cutting. You may manage to wait that long…I never have.

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Sausage & Potato Soup, Old + New

Tasty Kitchen Blog Sausage Potato Soup

Over two years ago, I first developed this recipe for sausage & potato soup because of some freezer-burnt broccoli. It’s still very much a staple at our house – the perfect supper when you can’t think of anything else to make.

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Here’s the original photo (bearing my watermark, ha!), taken in February of 2010. Which photo do you prefer?

All of this to say, go check out my guest post over on the Tasty Kitchen Blog!


Creamy Lemon Pudding + A Farewell To Winter

Lemon Pudding

There’s something clear and fresh about lemons that whispers “Spring” to me. The bright tartness reminds me of one of those nippy spring days that seem to hold onto winter. The clean, fresh tastes speaks of new beginnings. The cheerful, warm color says sunny days.

Thus, as these Minnesota days are finally warming up, the birds are beginning to sing and the snow is almost gone, I bid farewell to winter. I love winter for its nostalgia and (most of all) for the skiing, but I am quite ready to say hello to jackets and flats and good-bye to heavy coats and snow boots.

Lemon Pudding

Lemon Pudding

Lemon Pudding

But on to the pudding!

I was very much surprised by the creamy smoothness of this pudding – I was half expecting it to curdle horribly. However, the only lemon that hits the pudding while it cooks is the zest. Only after the pudding has completely cooled do you gently whisk in the lemon juice, ensuring that the pudding stays velvety.

The lemon flavor isn’t loud and sharp; it’s soft and slowly curls out as you savor each bite. Little bits of zest find their way into the finished pudding, even after straining, and give you a pleasant surprise. It’s marvelous.

Lemon Pudding

Notes:

  • I used white sugar because I didn’t want to compromise the delicate color, but you could easily substitute a more natural sweetener for a healthier treat.
  • I highly recommend serving with a dollop of whipped cream. It elevates a delicious treat to a decadent dessert.

Creamy Lemon Pudding | Printable Page | Makes 4 servings

From Martha Stewart

Ingredients:

  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar
  • 3 tablespoons cornstarch
  • 2 teaspoons finely grated lemon zest (make sure you lemon is organic!)
  • 1/8 teaspoon fine salt
  • 1 1/2 cups whole milk
  • 1/2 cup heavy cream
  • 2 large egg yolks
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice

Directions:

1) Begin by putting a fine-mesh strainer over a heat-proof bowl set on top of a hot pad. In a medium saucepan, whisk together the sugar, cornstarch, lemon zest and salt. In a medium bowl, whisk together the milk, cream and egg yolks. Slowly whisk into the cornstarch mixture.

2) Cook over medium-high heat, stirring constantly, until mixture thickens and begins to boil. Reduce heat to medium-low and continue to cook and stir 1 minute. Remove from heat and strain into the prepared bowl. Whisk in the butter and vanilla.

3) Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 3 hours. Gently whisk the lemon juice into the chilled pudding until smooth. Spoon into small bowls and serve.

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