How to make a jolly loaf of bread without really trying

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A nice loaf of bread if I do say so myself.

Traditional yeast prepared the usual way, sort of;

Two cups of warm water, in  a large bowl;

Pour in some extra virgin olive oil, about a quarter cup, give or take,

Some salt – I dunno, maybe a teaspoon.

(This is a slight variation of a basic pita bread recipe;

Simple, to say the yeast.)

Mix in two, maybe three cups unbleached white flour,

Add two or three cups, or handfuls, whatever, of whole wheat flour,

Mix ’til the dough picks up all the flour in the bowl –

Well, most of it anyway;

Add more whole wheat flour if necessary,

Use your hands if you must.

Empty the dough onto a lightly-floured table,

Knead, adding unbleached white flour as required, for a few minutes

If you have big hands like me,

Five if their smaller,

Until the dough looks and feels smooth and eager to rise

(It will tell you. It will say, okay that’s enough, I’m eager to rise).

Pour a little olive oil into the bottom of a clean bowl;

Flip the ball of dough around ’til it’s lightly covered with oil;

Cover the bowl with a clean tea towel,

Preferably the big one that came from Tasmania many years ago;

Put the bowl on a warm surface;

Let it rise to double in bulk (about an hour);

Take the bowl back to the lightly floured table;

Cut it in half.

Using a lightly-floured rolling pin shape one of the halves flat and more or less round,

Big enough to fit the pizza tray you just lightly olive-oiled.

(Don’t twirl the dough in the air to shape it unless you were born in Naples)

Make your pizza. Put it in your pre-heated 400-degree F oven.

Shape the other half of the dough into a loaf,

Drop it nonchalantly into a standard loaf pan,

Cover with the tea towel from Tasmania,

Put it on the warm surface

And get a rise out of it.

Put it in the 400-degree oven after eating a lot of pizza,

With a couple of glasses of Cabernet Sauvignon.

Talk too long with your friends about the dreadful state of the world,

Then suddenly remember you’ve got bread in the oven.

Take the bread out of the oven, with the Tasmanian tea towel.

Enjoy the compliments even though you don’t deserve them.

Smile, be jolly,

You lucked out.

And that, my children, is how you make a nice loaf of bread without really trying.

 

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