As you can probably tell by now, I love making things by hand. One of my favorite things is to share that love of homemade goodness with others! That’s why one of my goals for this year is to give mostly homemade items for gifts.
Since bread is my BFF, I wanted to find a way to share it without having to worry about it getting rock hard or going bad. That pretty much meant I couldn’t ship baked bread, so I thought: why not do bread in a jar?
It sounded like a great idea until I really thought about it. If I was going to give this bread in a jar to someone who had no idea how to knead or didn’t own a bread machine, that pretty much meant that the jar would sit in a lonely corner of a pantry until that person decided to throw it away. (Note that I didn’t think: “Why don’t I give them something else?” or “Soda bread might work…”)
Thus began my journey into the no-knead bread world. Almost any no-knead bread recipe is a pain in the butt. Even reading the directions, I thought: Kneading it would be 100x easier than this crud. Also, a lot of the recipes that weren’t so ridiculous needed eggs or other things I couldn’t put in the jar. I wanted it to be a simple “just add water” kind of exercise. I scoured the internet and finally found this little gem: Peasant Bread.
No kneading! No eggs! Sure, it might need a little bit of butter on the top, but that’s completely optional! Plus, if you half the recipe (since it’s for two loaves anyway), the ingredients fit perfectly into a pint-sized mason jar. Oh lordy, did I luck out.
It was so easy to dump the ingredients in the jar, print and cut the instructions, and assemble the jar. I threw on a bit of yarn and a label just for fun. Honestly, the hardest part was arranging the instructions in Photoshop to fit (and that took all of five minutes).
Now, the real test is to see if the recipient likes it. We’ll just have to wait and see!
[Update: The recipient of this gift had no problems making the bread and liked it so much that she asked for the recipe! I’d say this is a winner!
Also, if you are interested, here are the modified directions I included with the jar:
“In a large bowl, combine the jar ingredients with a cup of warm water; stir until combined. Cover and let rise in a warm place until doubled, about 1 hour. Stir dough down. Place dough in a greased 1-qt. round casserole or ovenproof bowl. Brush top with butter (optional). Let rise in a warm place until doubled, about 45 minutes. Bake at 350 degrees F for 45 minutes. Remove from pan; serve warm if desired.”]
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Can you tell me more about the instructions you gave to people on the jar? When I read the recipe it talks about dissolving the yeast in water (as someone who’s made bread before that makes sense to me), but obviously if you gave this as a gift you wouldn’t expect someone else to do that if all the ingredients were together in the jar. Just curious! Thanks!
I made sure the yeast was on top of the jar (so it touched the water first) and amended the instructions to read as follows. Keep in mind that I halved the recipe (to fit in a pint jar) and put the poppy seeds in the batter.
“In a large bowl, combine the jar ingredients with a cup of warm water; stir until combined. Cover and let rise in a warm place until doubled, about 1 hour. Stir dough down. Place dough in a greased 1-qt. round casserole or ovenproof bowl. Brush top with butter (optional). Let rise in a warm place until doubled, about 45 minutes. Bake at 350 degrees F for 45 minutes. Remove from pan; serve warm if desired.”
I printed this out on a plain piece of paper and cut it out to fit on the lid of my jar. I have horrible handwriting, so I tend to avoid the handwritten route. 😉
Hope this helps!
This is a brilliant idea! I was having a discussion with a friend the other day about how no knead bread recipes are always more of a pain than just kneading (glad it’s not just us). I think I may have to one of these jars as a surprise present for that friend! Thanks for the idea.
Honestly, aside from this recipe, I’ve yet to find a no-knead that I’d ever want to try. It just seems like a ton of trouble! I guess the ciabatta recipe I tried a few weeks ago and posted about is no knead too, but the bread is so delicious that it’s worth it. 😉
How interesting! Gonna have to give this a try too…thanks for sharing it!
Great! I live to spread the love of freshly-baked bread. 😉