An old friend, Elisha Cooper, has recently developed an obsession with baking bread. Late last week, he paid me a surprise visit at work. He biked from his home to my office with a fresh, warm loaf on his back. I took it to my desk and my colleagues and I buttered the soft, salty, and cornmeal-encrusted slices and devoured them. The loaf was delicious.
We’re always running out of bread around the house, so I asked Elisha how long his loaf keeps. He doesn’t know. He always eats it fresh. It's so easy to make, he makes it all the time. After the dough is ready, it only takes about a half hour to finish the bread, so he’ll throw some dough in the oven while preparing the rest of his dinner. By the time his meal is ready, his bread is too.
Tonight, I left my office thinking about his bread. I was headed home to eat my Bolognese, which I was very relieved to find in the freezer this morning. I wasn’t in the mood to do any cooking when I woke. We’ve all been a little sick around the Stay at Stove Dad house. Given the limited amount of sleep we get (six hours is a wicked luxury, which makes me think of a sleep-related expression my mother-in-law introduced me to: “six hours for a man, seven for a woman, eight for a fool”), getting the necessary rest to get well seems like something reserved for the future, like say next May.
A loaf of warm fresh bread would have gone nicely with the Bolognese. I didn't have any intention of making it though. After my recent pizza debacle I’m a little gun shy. In time, I’m sure that will change. Meanwhile, here’s his recipe, which he got from his brother-in-law.
Bread For Simpletons
- 3.5 cups flour,
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1.5 teaspoon yeast
- 1.5 cups hot water
Mix the flour, salt, yeast, and water in a bowl in the morning.
Let it sit all day with saran wrap across top of bowl (think about other things, go on about your business).
When ready to bake the bread:
Heat oven to 425 degrees.
Throw the dough in whatever shape on cornmeal-sprinkled pan and wait fifteen minutes.
After the quarter-hour passes, fold the dough over on itself.
Place in oven and bake for 22 minutes (or however long), until it browns and it sounds hollow when you whack its belly.