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.”]