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Anna was home sick again today from the Kindergarten (it’s called Kindergarten here in Germany but it’s really preschool). She has been sick quite a bit since she started going there in September and it hardly seems worth it for the three short hours she spends there in the mornings. While she is there I go home for a quick cup of tea and to check my email and lately I’ve been browsing the internet (a.k.a. Pinterest) for homemade Christmas present ideas or I’ve been knitting one of these projects that I’ve started lately in hopes of finishing them in time for the upcoming holidays and sometimes I might just have enough time to clean the house before she comes home to dismantle it again…. But this week I made this bread instead and it was lovely paired with a quince jam that I had made from last week (and will be posting about soon so stay tuned!). It was really a good thing that I made this bread yesterday too as it was one of the only things, besides tea with milk, that my sick toddler wanted to eat today…. and it had to be toasted with butter on top of course!

Country White Bread

Recipe inspired by E. Dijxhoorn

1 cup warm Water

3+ cups unbleached all purpose Flour

2 tablespoons Oil (I used sunflower)

1/2 tablespoon Sugar

1 teaspoon Salt

1 packet Yeast

In a large bowl mix the water with the sugar, salt and yeast. Let it sit for a few minutes and the yeast should get foamy and puff up. Add the oil and mix in about 3 cups of flour until the dough is sticky but comes together to form a ball. Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured surface and knead for about 5 minutes until the dough is smooth and elastic. If the dough gets too sticky while kneading add only a tiny bit of flour to the surface and keep kneading it adding as little flour as you can as you go. Return the dough to a lightly oiled bowl and cover with a clean dishtowel. Let rise in a warm place for 1 hour or until it has doubled in size. I preheated my oven until it was warm but not too hot and let it rise in there with the oven OFF. Punch the risen dough down after one hour and let rise again for another hour or so until it has doubled in size. Turn the dough out onto the table again and knead it just a little bit until you can form it into a nice ball. Place on a cookie sheet lined with parchment paper (or greased and floured). Score the top twice with a wet knife about a half inch deep, sprinkle the top lightly with flour, cover with a dishtowel and let rise while the oven preheats to 450°F. While the oven is preheating put a metal baking dish on the lower rack with an inch or two of water in it before the bread goes in. Bake the loaf at 450°F for 10 minutes then turn the heat down to 400°F and bake for another 20 minutes. After half an hour of baking CAREFULLY remove the pan of extremely hot water and discard. Take the loaf off the cookie sheet and transfer to a wire rack to bake for an additional 5 or so minutes to lightly brown the bottom of the loaf. Remove the bread from the oven and let it cool slightly on a wire rack before cutting. Store cut side down on a cutting board or in a plastic bag at room temperature for up to 3-4 days. Best served warm from the oven or slightly toasted.