Sitting here, warm and toasty in the kitchen, feet cozy and looking out the window (and typing...typing also) on what is our third day of rainy weather (with no end in sight, I'm afraid) I'm going to declare something to you. Here I go. You see... I have this thing for rainy days ... and cows ... I really do. People scowl. They complain. They hunch. They take up umbrella wrestling. They give stink eyes. It's June, they say. It's summer, they say. I'm moving, they say...
Well... I fly in the wet face of such sun dancers, (with galoshes on) and say, not me, dear readers. I completely love these days. I love the sun too, don't get me wrong, but these days, they are a little gift. I miss them so much in the winter and I am thrilled at the first hint of drops, the soft gray light, the rolling thunder, the change in air. In my world, there has always been something magical and calming in the sounds and stillness of a rainy day. The patter of drops against the window. The muffled sounds of tires across asphalt. The swishing sounds trees make as they sway in the wind, leaves dancing delightedly. And everything is so green. Alive and growing.
Water is a life giver, a cleaner, it moves things along.
If you are in the countryside, rainy days bring a green beyond words, droplets everywhere reflecting life, quiet animals and tiny birds shaking off wet wings. The air is filled with humidity, the scent of earth...
Oh, what? Yes, yes ... the cow thing... yes ...
Well, believe it or not dear readers, I really do have this cow thing. I rarely come across a cow in all of his (or her) splendor, where I do not stop to say hello and admire. Yes, I talk to cows. I wave at them and smile. I love them. Everything about them. The way they stand, sit, chew, swat flies, nurse young ones, flare nostrils, poop ... I love to see them in the different seasons, landscapes ... they are just so perfect ... I just want to stay and look at them forever. Now put rainy days and cows together .... whoa.
So that's kinda' the cow thing... which also translates over to a sheep thing but that's for another time ...
|An open window brings sounds of droplets and smells of cool earth ...|
|Everything green rejoices ...|
|Cows! My lovelies ...|
|Look at them ... look at the little one in the center ... look at her ... ouff aman aman ...|
|They are so the best. I love them.|
|Sheep. Next time ...|
|Look at them ... bebeks ...|
I've written about rain quite a bit. Like a lot. It's contemplative weather. It's also the perfect time to bake a beautiful loaf of the best bread ever and eat it straight out of the oven, warm with lots of butter.
Isn't it? :)
Time to dish.
The Best Simple Bread Recipe. Ever.
|The second rising ...|
|Fresh out of the oven and brushed with goat butter ... I am telling you ...|
|Cooling ... hard to resist ...|
|Sliced and curvy!|
|At last ... we are together ...|
So here it is dear readers. The bomb bread. You make it by hand, no machine and it is so easy. The actual work time is 15 minutes. The rest is waiting.
Here is what you need:
- 6 cups of really good, organic white flour (or you could do half white, half whole wheat)
- 3 tablespoons of local honey
- 1 tablespoon of sea salt
- 2 tablespoons of grassy olive oil
- 2 packages of instant yeast
- 2 1/4 cups of very warm water
- Melted goat butter, just enough for brushing the loaves
This is what to do:
- Mix 3.5 cups of the flour with the honey, salt and yeast in a big bowl. As big as you got baby! Then add the warm water and stir well, with a wooden spoon (or whatever spoon floats your boat) for about a minute until everything is smooth. Then, stir in the rest of the flour, one cup at a time, until you have a rough dough that is easy to work with.
- Flour your counter top or other workspace, then on your dough goes for you to lovingly knead it for 10 minutes. You'll know it's ready when it is elastic and it feels bouncy in your hand. When ready, place it in a oiled bowl (big one) and it's rise time! 40 minutes in a toasty place (I put mine in an oven that I had pre-heated to 175F.
- Now is the time to grease the loaf pans. 2 of them. I grease mine with olive oil.
- Punching time! After 40 minutes, take out the bowl and punch down the dough baby! Not insanely hard, now is not the time to get out your aggressions... just enough for it to flatten. Then divide the dough in two, flatten each half with a rolling pin (or your hands, I do mine with my hands, like a pizza dough) until you have a rectangle of about 18x9 inches.
- Rolling time! Starting at the short end (the 9" end, to state the obvious) roll your dough up tightly, pressing down with your thumbs to seal after each turn. Pinch the edge of the dough to seal after each turn and when you are at the end, fold the ends under the loaf.
- 2nd rising! Place your now dough log into your pans, seam side down and use a knife to slightly mark the top of the bread on the diagonal. Then, brush it with the melted goat butter. Oh yeah baby. Let it rise for 35-50 minutes.
- Now, oven at 425F and bake! For 25-30 minutes depending on your oven. Check it at 25 ... it should be golden brown and hollow when you tap it. As soon as it comes out of the oven, brush it again with goat butter! Quick!
Let it cool and then slice it up! It is so good dear readers. I know the instructions are a bit wordy but I promise you it is so easy to do and so amazingly good you will thank me.
I'm off to the cycle now ... all this bread ... and butter ... thighs expanding ... totally worth it ...