We have always enjoyed baking bread, even in The Before, when yeast wasn’t rarer than hen’s teeth, and flour wasn’t available in 12.5kg bags or nothing. Over summer, it was generally only once a week, making our favourite pizza dough on a Saturday night. Come winter, though, we would have pizza, plus a soup night with fresh rolls, and occassionally a mid-week loaf. To be fair though, these loaves were just an add-on to whatever meal we were planning, and generally didn’t form part of our actual regular bread roster.
For the most part, this slow iso life is enjoyable (and yes, I know I am showing a great deal of privilege saying that – we are lucky that we haven’t lost jobs or income, we haven’t had anyone in our circle of family or friends contract the virus, we homeschooled anyway so it wasn’t a huge interruption to the children’s education). One of the side benefits, is without the need (or want, in many cases) to race to town what felt like every five seconds, we have a whole lot of extra time on our hands. We also can’t stock up on our usual amount of bread in a single weekly shop, due to the current restrictions, and as the children and I are self-isolating, that only leaves Mr Barefoot to collect groceries and run errands, and there’s only so many lunch hours to get everything day,
Which is a long way of saying – homemade bread is now part of our regular rotation in place of commercial loaves. I am loving the experimentation of trying new recipes, the meditative rhythm of kneading and rising, and of course, who can resist the glorious deliciousness of bread fresh from the oven and slathered with butter!
My new favourite is a simple no-knead bread, that I set up at lunch time for the following day’s lunch. I use this recipe here, and bake it in a glass casserole dish.
We’ve also tried Turkish Pide, more than once, and even without Nigella seeds it certainly tastes the part. Focaccia was a hit as well, which was a perfect accompaniment for a soup night. And when I have a bit of extra time, I love a loaf of Hungarian Farmer’s Bread, that I made last week to have as a side to stroganoff.
With all this bread baking, and yeast remaining stubbornly unavailable in th esupermarkets, the next logical step was a sourdough starter. My first attempt was an abject failure, but we are on day five of my second attempt, and are cautiously optimistic that we will be sitting down to some yummy homemade sourdough crumpets for breakfast on Saturday morning.
Adding a regular bread bake to our routine has been one of my favourite new habits in iso life, and I plan to keep it in The After…whenever that might be. Delicious, easy (now I know what I’m doing), inexpensive , and even though it can be time consuming, the hands on kneading part is also an excellent chance to throw on the headphones and catch 10 minutes of netflix, or an audiobook. My favourite new pinterest scroll is looking for bread recipes, and I’ve bought a notebook to start writing down the recipes that I love so that I don’t have to keep looking at my phone every time I want to make a loaf. On my agenda for the next couple of weeks is to try sourdough (obviously!), baguettes, and brioche. I may come out of isolation the size of a house!