“The art of bread making can become a consuming hobby, and no matter how often and how many kinds of bread one has made, there always seems to be something new to learn.”~ Julia Child
Ageing gracefully is not just a hashtag at the end of your Instagram posts. Ageing gracefully means living your best life, staying healthy and loving every stage of your life. Genetics is not the only factor that plays a part in how your mind and body will be affected as you age.
Growing old is a natural part of life — we cannot stop the process. But with a few easy lifestyle changes, we can help our brain and body be as healthy and vital as possible.
One aspect of healthy ageing that I have been focussing on these days is food. I am determined to adjust my diet to ensure that my nutritional needs are met. And, more importantly, please my tastebuds!
Experts agree that a good diet is essential for good health and they recommend we eat a variety of health foods daily including:
- Fruits and vegetables, either fresh, frozen, or canned
- Lean protein, such as fish, eggs and beans
- Whole-grain cereals, bread, rice, or pasta
- Low-fat or fat-free dairy, such as milk, yoghurt or cheese fortified with vitamin D
- Healthy fats
They also advise us to avoid solid fats when cooking and limit highly processed foods, refined sugars, and unhealthy fats. They encourage us to keep salt intake to a minimum to keep our blood pressure down.
Check out your national food guide for detailed nutritional guidelines or ask your healthcare professional for more information.
I feel I have a healthful diet already — I eat very little red meat. I do not consume processed foods, and I am trying hard to give up added sugar. See why here.
I am not a big bread eater, but I love a great sandwich now and then, and one of my favourite breakfasts is peanut butter with bananas or dates with cinnamon on toast. I use natural peanut butter and whole wheat bread (no sugar added) for the toast.
The last time I baked bread was back when my daughters were young. I would throw the ingredients into my bread machine and let it do its thing. Easy, right?! I remember my mother spending hours in the kitchen making bread from scratch. The mixing, the kneading — the waiting!! Torture! Thank goodness for the bread machine — it saved me from all that punching, pulling, and stretching.
Then COVID-19 came along. Suddenly everyone started baking bread! And lots of it! I missed that party. But the other day, I was looking for something new to try. I came across some recipes for simple no-knead bread. Honey oat, cranberry walnut, whole wheat, plain white — the list seemed unending. It was amazing! After reading through them, I decided to give bread baking a try – it seemed so easy!
It is easy — I would say – almost fool-proof! But it does take time. I suggest planning your meal carefully if you want to centre it around a lovely, fresh-baked loaf. The process involves a long rise and requires patience.
Note: The recipes I read differed on the length of the first rise — some calling for as little as 1.5 hrs. However, most prescribed a longer rise time between 8-12 hours for optimum flavour. I let my dough rise for 3 hours. It turned out great, but I think the next time I bake this bread, I will let it rest longer — maybe 8 hours! I am curious to see if this delicious treat can be improved by this change!
I love this bread. It is an easy healthy recipe with only four ingredients — flour, yeast, salt and water. That is it! Simple.
If you love homemade bread, you will love this easy recipe. I think I might try making a Rosemary Garlic No-Knead loaf next. I am no baker, but I am ready for more bread-eating adventures! What about you? Are you a baker?
Easy Multigrain No-Knead Bread
Makes 2 loaves – see note at the end of the recipe
- 6 cups of flour (you can mix and match however you like. For example, use 3 cups whole wheat, 3 cups white). I used all multigrain flour — my loaf had a great texture, a soft chew and a lovely nutty flavour.
- 3/4 tsp active dry yeast
- 2 1/2 tsp salt
- 3 – 3 1/2 cups warm water (more or less depending on the flour you use)
- Combine flour, yeast, and salt in a large bowl.
- Slowly add warm water into the flour mixture and stir to combine into a sticky, shaggy dough. If it is not shaggy, and moist, you might need to add a little more water. Don’t know what shaggy dough looks/feels like? I didn’t know, either. Fear not — here is some info to help you figure it out.
- Cover the bowl with a clean, lint-free towel and place in a warm spot to rise.
- After about 3 hours, it will have risen and be dotted with holes (made by the yeast). Note: Many bakers recommend that you leave the dough to rise for 12 hours.
- Divide your dough in two. Place one half in a storage container with the lid on loosely. You can keep it in the fridge for up to 4 days. If you can wait that long!
- Turn the remaining dough onto a well-floured surface and fold it in on itself twice. (Does this make you think about David and Moira, from Schitt’s Creek as they tried to fold the cheese into their enchilada sauce? Scroll to the bottom of this post to watch the clip of that scene.) Set the loaf seam side down on a piece of parchment. Lightly flour the surface and cover with a clean, lint-free towel. Allow to rise (1 1/2 – 2 hours).
- Put a Dutch Oven or similar pot in the oven with the lid on about 30 minutes before your bread is ready to bake. Set the oven temperature to 450 degrees F.
- Your loaf is ready to be baked when it has doubled in size. When poked gently with your finger, an indentation remains. If this doesn’t happen, cover the loaf and let it rest a little longer. Take the heated pot out of the oven. Use a sharp knife to cut a few slashes across the top of the loaf. Pick up the loaf by the corners of the parchment. Carefully place the loaf along with the paper into the hot Dutch Oven. Cover with the heated lid and bake for 30 minutes. Then remove the lid and continue baking for another 15-20 minutes. Your bread will be ready to eat after it has cooled a little.
When you are ready for more yummy bread, remove the reserved dough from the fridge 2-3 hours before you want to bake it. Then follow steps 6-8 for another freshly baked loaf!
NOTE: If you want to make enough dough for only one loaf of bread, use the ingredient measurements below and follow the steps above. Omit step 5.
- 3 cups of your favourite flour
- 3/8 teaspoon dry active yeast
- 1 1/4 teaspoons salt
- 1 1/3 cups water
Have you tried making no-knead bread? Share your experience in the comments below.