Slowing Down: Homemade Bread in Maine

Sliced bread

Pies. 4 pies. 4 homemade pies. Too many pies to eat.

Recently I spent a week in Maine with 2 friends. We went to a remote coastal neighborhood, away from the tourist areas, and made most of our own food, including 4 pies and homemade bread (and homemade popsicles, some delivered by kayak, to friends reading out on the water.) 

While on vacation I felt better. My skin felt better, I didn’t have physical symptoms of stress, I was well-rested and always with friends. Recently I’ve been thinking about if I would be happy living in the countryside. I’ve always lived in a big city or really close to one, and Dallas is the smallest city I’ve lived in. I don’t fly much but having access to a major hub is really nice. My family is 20 minutes away, work is 15 minutes away - but up to an hour with traffic.  

Life in the city is so busy it seems unhealthy. I’ve heard that all sorts of diseases are related to stress, including cancer and heart disease. I read that children are being left in hot cars more often because car seats aren’t supposed to be in the front anymore, so parents forget that their kids are back there. I don’t have children, but I hear that life with them can be really hectic. But something’s wrong if we’re that busy. 

In the spirit of slowing down, here’s a homemade bread recipe, courtesy of Elizabeth Buerger, adapted from this recipe online (with pictures :). It makes 2 loaves, doesn’t require much kneading - really you can’t mess it up. You don’t even need a loaf pan - I used a square casserole dish, and the bread held its shape.

Bread in Maine

Ingredients:

3 1/4 cups bread flour (433 grams)

3 1/4 cups all-purpose flour (433 grams)

2 teaspoons instant yeast (4 grams)

1 1/2 tablespoons kosher salt (14 grams)

3 cups of water

1-2 T of white vinegar

Salt for bread topping

 

Directions:

In a large bowl mix flours, yeast, and salt. Add water and vinegar, stirring to form the dough.

Cover with plastic wrap or a towel and let it rest at room temperature for 5 hours. Now the dough can be baked or put in the fridge for up to two weeks.

For baking, divide the dough in half, and return half to the fridge. On a floured surface lightly kneed the dough 3-4 times - no expert kneading required.

Shape dough into a rectangle, approximately 8x12 inches.

Fold a third of the dough over the center, followed by the other third to form a loaf shape.

Place the dough seam-side down in a buttered pan.

Cover and let rise for 1 hour.

Preheat oven to 450° F. Dust the top of the dough with a little flour, add salt (I like a lot of salt), and score the top with a knife.

Bake 30-35 minutes, or until the top of the loaf has just begin to brown. Let cool an hour before slicing for sandwiches- or eat right away with butter and friends.

The hunger for love is much more difficult to remove than the hunger for bread.

-Mother Teresa