Friday, May 29, 2009

Knead No More!

MMMmmmm Warm Bread with Cold Butter

I attempted to make bread only once, and that was 12 years ago; it was long, painful and a disaster.... All this changed yesterday when discovered an amazing way to bake the best bread! This recipe allows anyone to effortlessly bake loaf after loaf of premium artisan goodness. Everyday . . . without kneading the dough! HEAVEN! Frankly, ACE bakery bread is good, but who can afford to pay 4$ for Artisan bread all the time??

Here's how it works:

1) It requires very little yeast;

2) the dough is very wet;

3) no kneading is required;

4) the bread rises for a long time and

5) you can use a closed, pre-heated pot for baking. Together, these factors add up to the tastiest bread I have ever baked.

Crispy Crust:

The last secret to 'Real' Bread is the baking. Professional bakers have long known that the secret of a perfectly crisp crust is moisture. Baking bread in a moist oven keeps the surface supple and allows it to stretch fully before the heat of the oven sets the crust. They also have ovens that inject just the right amount of moist steam, at just the right time.

For 1 normal loaf of french style bread

3 cups all-purpose or bread flour
1/4 tsp dry yeast
1 1/4 tsp salt
1 5/8 cups of warm water

For baking in a covered pot

  1. Whisk the dry ingredients together thoroughly in a glass, plastic or stainless steel bowl.
  2. Add the water and stir until a wet dough forms. Continue stirring until the dough incorporates all the loose flour in the bowl, about 60 seconds in total.
    Cover the bowl with a towel and rest in a warm place for 12 to 18 hours.(I sprinkle flour on top of the bread to avoid it sticking to the towel and prevent it from drying out).
  3. It will double in size, bubble and long gluten strands will form.
  4. Lightly flour your hands and the work surface then remove the dough from the bowl. Quickly form it into a ball.
  5. Thoroughly flour a cotton towel and rest the dough on it. Cover it with another floured cotton towel.
    You may also rest the dough on a non-stick ‘Silpat’ mat and cover it with just one towel.
  6. Rest the dough a second time. In 2 to 3 hours it will rise again and double in size once more.
  7. A half an hour or so before the dough is ready preheat your oven to 450 degrees. You may use cast-iron, steel, enamel or ceramic. If at all possible, warm your pot in the oven prior to putting the bread into it.
    When the dough has fully risen slide your hand under the towel and quickly invert the delicate dough into the hot pot.
  8. Shake the pot a bit to settle it then place the lid on the pot and start baking.
    Bake for 30 minutes with the lid then remove it and bake for 15 minutes more.

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

More Tulips

Green Goddess Dressing

This gorgeous recipe was provided by our Kundalini teacher, Devinder Kaur from PranaShanti Yoga Center in Ottawa. Everybody in our family raves about this dressing, maybe because we're garlic fanatics...It is a very potent delicious dressing, a little goes a long way. Perfect for a spring cleansing regime!


3 garlic cloves
Juice of two lemons (approx. 1⁄4 cup)
1 cup cilantro (unchopped)
1 cup parsley (unchopped)
2 Tbsp Bragg Liquid Aminos or Nama Shoyu
1⁄2 tsp umeboshi plum vinegar
1⁄2 cup cold pressed/extra virgin olive oil
1/2 cup water


Blend all ingredients in a blender for 30 seconds. Chill & serve.
Yields 1 cup. Keeps in refrigerator for 5-6 days.

Sunday, May 17, 2009

Ottawa's Tulip Festival

Spring is my favorite season here in Ottawa. I went to the Tulip festival and it reminded me of how beautiful and green this city is. For those of you that are not familiar with the festival, here is a little bit of history:
The Canadian Tulip Festival has grown into the largest Tulip Festival in the world from a gift of International Friendship given six decades ago. In the fall of 1945, Princess Juliana of the Netherlands presented Ottawa with 100,000 tulip bulbs. The gift was given in appreciation of the safe haven that members of Holland's exiled royal family received during the Second World War in Ottawa and in recognition of the role which Canadian troops played in the liberation of the Netherlands.

The tulips have become an important symbol of international friendship and the beauty of spring. They also have special meaning to people of Canada's Capital Region. During the war, the Dutch royal family was hosted at Government House in Ottawa. Princess Margriet was born at the Ottawa Civic Hospital; her hospital room declared "Dutch soil" and the flag of the Netherlands flew on Parliament's Peace Tower.

The first Canadian Tulip Festival was held in 1953. The Ottawa Board of Trade, at the suggestion of world-renowned photographer Malak Karsh whose photographs have immortalized the tulip, formalized the Canadian Tulip Festival to coincide with the tulip's annual bloom. In the next 10 years the Festival grew in size, with a staggering display of over two million flowers. Each spring over 600,000 people from all over North America, Europe and Asia make over a million visits to the Canadian Tulip Festival. Studies show it has a $50 million economic impact annually on the Ottawa region. The event, which grew from the Dutch gift of friendship, has become the world's largest Tulip Festival and Ottawa, with its Official Flower – the Tulip, has become the Tulip Capital of the North America. Isn't that something Eh ! :-)

More pics to come soon....