Making Bread

by Christine Sine
Bread - the staple of Life

Bread – the staple of Life

Yesterday our summer intern Chris Holcomb made bread – not the fast bread machine type, not the intensive “knead for 10 minutes” type but the slow natural “lets take 24 hours to do this” type. Amazingly it is not labour intensive – a few minutes at a time is all it takes. It was the best home made bread I have tasted for a long time so I thought that I would share the recipe plus links to other articles on no knead bread that I thought may interest some of you.

What it made me realize however is that here is another aspect of life in which we so often miss the best because we want it in a hurry. Our bread machines make 1 hour bread for a quick loaf or else we dash to the store for a basic mass produced loaf because we think we don’t have time. Makes me think of the way we treat our faith. We want a quick fix. We want it now and we are not particularly concerned if it lacks flavour and quality.

Jesus the bread of life is I think like this slow process bread – something to take our time over. Something to savour and enjoy. Something that has us wanting to come back for more all the time.

All that said here is the recipe:

1 ib unbleached white flour

1 tsp dry yeast

1 tsp salt

1 1/3 cups water

Baking stone or cookie sheet, Pizza peel or heavy sheet of cardboard

Starting the night before baking day, in a large mixing bowl use your hands to mix the flour, yeast, salt and enough water to form a soft and sticky dough. Cover and let the dough rise overnight at room temperature. This long cool rise (don’t use warm water) lets the the yeast and various enzymes develop maximum flavour in the dough and also makes for a chewy texture. When you get up in the morning, wet your hands, lift the dough onto a flat, wet surface, then gently stretch it and fold it in half 2 – 4 times. Return dough to the same bowl, cover and let rise until doubled in size. While the bread is in its second round of rising line a bowl with a cotton or linen cloth heavily dusted with flour. When the dough has doubled turn it out onto a work surface and with wet hands stretch and fold, and turn 2 – 4 times until dough begins to stiffen and assume the shape of a ball.

Place the ball into the bowl on the well-floured cloth. Cover and let rise until the dough has almost doubled again. (1 – 4 hours depending on room temp). Turn onto pizza peel or well floured piece of heavy cardboard. Slide onto a baking stone or cookie sheet. Bake at 500F until the crust is golden brown on top and the bottom crust is hard and thumps like a drum when you tap it (about 30 – 40 minutes). Allow to cool before slicing.

The recipe comes from Mother earth News December 2010/January 2011. I could not find the same recipe on line but came across these other articles and recipes at Mother Earth that are definitely worth reading and experimenting with:

Easy No Knead Crusty Bread

Healthy No Knead Bread Recipes

Five Minutes a Day For Fresh Baked Bread

And these great looking recipes from Grit: Rural American Know How

You might also enjoy this video clip.

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contemplativeactivist June 20, 2012 - 9:11 am

Great fun. We love making bread in the same way here in the Friary. Takes a bit of muscle work when kneading as the dough tightens. Very therapeutic and good to eat.

Christine Sine June 20, 2012 - 9:14 am

Nothing more wonderful than the aroma of bread baking. This method is not supposed to need any muscle work though

contemplativeactivist June 20, 2012 - 9:32 am

Ah, in my method, which is not 24 hours, it is in the kneading as I stretch the gluten in the dough and get it to tighten. Your method sounds a lot less of a workout. Have you tried some honey? Lovely flavouring in the bread.

Jeri Bidinger June 20, 2012 - 9:44 am

You might enjoy the book “Artisan Bread in Five Minutes a Day.” I use it pretty continuously at Spa for the Soul for fresh bread for guests each morning. Sustainable.

Christine Sine June 20, 2012 - 9:47 am

Great – Someone else just mentioned that on facebook & I noticed it in my research online this morning. Looks as though I might need to invest

Christine Sine June 20, 2012 - 9:50 am

Micha to be honest I have not tried this at all yet. It is quite a while since I made bread myself but this has made me want to get back to it. And honey – on or in the bread is a wonderful idea

April Yamasaki June 20, 2012 - 10:15 pm

I enjoy the rhythm of kneading bread–almost like a meditation in itself–but I’ve never made a no-knead bread with such a long rising time and no sugar. I’m assuming a lb of flour is like 4 cups? Anyway, I look forward to trying this some time. Thank you.

contemplativeactivist June 21, 2012 - 1:32 am

I never put sugar in and also only half a tsp of salt. Also find it is great as part of the rhythm of beating with the Father’s heart.

Christine Sine June 21, 2012 - 5:35 am

Amen to that

transitionlight June 24, 2012 - 3:46 am

Thanks for the post. Has anyone tried a gluten free version?

Christine Sine June 25, 2012 - 6:17 am

Not that I am aware of. We be great to experiment

contemplativeactivist June 28, 2012 - 2:29 am

You can get Gluten Free flours. They seem to be a mixture of rice, potato, tapioca and other flours and typically contain anthem gum as a sort of gluten replacement. Bags usually have a recipe on them and the method is quite different from usual bread making – taste is also different! Here is a recipe I found, but have not attempted!
To make this recipe for homemade gluten-free bread you’ll need the following gluten-free ingredients. All ingredients should be at room temperature before starting.

For consistent results, it is highly recommended that you don’t make ingredient substitutions in this recipe and that you weigh your dry ingredients on a good quality kitchen scale. If you bake bread often, it’s so much faster and easier to weigh than to measure.


135 grams / 4.8 ounces / about 1 cup white rice flour
100 grams / 3.5 ounces / about 1 cup tapioca starch
75 grams / 2.6 ounces / about 1/2 cup sweet sorghum flour
OR light buckwheat flour – See note below.
70 grams / 2.5 ounces / about 1/2 cup brown rice flour
20 grams / 2 tablespoons dry active yeast
25 grams / 2 tablespoons cane sugar
11 grams / 1 1/2 teaspoons salt
3 grams / 1 teaspoon guar gum
2 grams / 3/4 teaspoon xanthan gum
1.25 grams / 1/4 teaspoon ground ginger (adds flavor and acts as a natural preservative)
Optional – 7 grams / 1 tablespoon apple fiber (a dry nutritional supplement, available at health food stores)

3 large egg whites, room temperature (114 grams / 4 ounces)
2 tablespoons light olive oil (25 grams)
1 teaspoon apple cider vinegar (5 grams)
286 milliliters / 9.66 ounces lukewarm water / 1 cup + 3 tablespoons + 1 teaspoon (don’t use hot water – it will kill the yeast)
Note: If you store your gluten-free flour in the refrigerator or freezer, be sure to bring these ingredients to room temperature before preparing bread recipes. Chilled ingredients will stunt the rise of the bread.
Gluten-free sweet sorghum flour or light buckwheat flour both work beautifully as a portion of the flours used in this recipe. Both Bouchard Family Farms in Fort Kent, Maine and Buffalo Valley Grains in Buffalo, MN sell light buckwheat flour online.

If you have a grain mill you can grind your own gluten-free light buckwheat flour. Use gluten-free hulled buckwheat. Birkett Mills and Eden Foods both sell hulled buckwheat and both products make wonderful home-ground light buckwheat flour.

Also see

Hope this helps and let us know how you get on if and when you attempt it. Take care. MJ

contemplativeactivist June 28, 2012 - 2:31 am

Sorry not anthem gum (spell checker!) but xantham gum.

Ron June 27, 2012 - 2:24 am

We, in fact mostly my wife Alice, make bread by hand without doing much in the way of weighing etc and have had some tasty wholesome results. I was interested in trying to do it this way and am now onto my second batch….lovely process to engage with and luurvly bread. Thank you for the inspriration!

Christine Sine June 27, 2012 - 6:26 am

Your welcome Ron – I think that we will be making bread much more regularly now too

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