Calling all makers, gatherers, and aspiring bakers!
It brings me joy to write this to you on March 21st celebrating the Full Moon and also, the Vernal Equinox. This auspicious alignment provides some clarity around my why for this club, which gets me to the why of this recipe. You ready?
Thus far, I have been making things up as I go. I had the idea for the Full Moon Baking Club as a way to bring folks together, break bread honoring it as a community tradition, as well as to archive my own baking pursuits. I was doing the whole Instagram Live thing but honestly, it’s wasn’t quite working in the way I had I hoped. As much as I thought it would feel like a “hang-out” it didn’t and started giving me unnecessary stress. The purpose of the “club" should really be a reason to gather your friends together and enjoy their company. Now, that might include the baking process, however I think the real gift of this club is in the eating.
So, with it now officially being the start of Spring, I thought there’s no better time to plant some seeds of intention. My goal now is to provide you with a baking recipe on every full moon so that you can call-up your crew, invite them over, and offer them something wholesome and handmade. The fun comes from the togetherness and homemade goodies makes those moments all the better.
When I started baking bread, it was an impulsive New Year’s Eve resolution. I was inspired by reading Animal, Vegetable, Miracle by Barbra Kingsolver. It’s mostly an account of her family’s attempt to live off the land. There were lots of homestead-y stories throughout but what stuck with me was that her husband had a weekend ritual of baking bread. It was a subtle reference but by the end of the book, I was ready to pursue bread making. I had zero prior experience. At the time, cooking wasn’t even on my radar. I just remember being moved by the idea and the perceived notion of it’s simplicity. Baking bread, from scratch, at home…
To great surprise, it was easy! My first few loaves where meh… Some were dense. Others were dry. But shortly after I started my pursuits of bread making, things kinda clicked. It didn’t take long to realize that to make bread you just need a basic formula. There are endless bread recipes out there but at their core they are mostly the same. So this month, I’m skipping all the fancy and giving you this basic bread recipe.
- 3 cups flour (extra for dusting your surface and as necessary)
- 2 tsp. active dry yeast
- 1 tsp. salt
- 1 1/2 cups warm water
- Place all the dry ingredients in a large bowl.
- Add in the warm water.
- Mix to combine so a dough begings to form.
- Form it into a rough ball and then turn out onto a lightly floured surface.
- Gather the dough together and knead it for 10 minutes(maybe more) until the dough is smooth and pliable and all the ingredients are well incorporated.
- Shape it into a round ball and place it into a large oiled or greased bowl and cover with plastic wrap or a damp cloth to rise for an hour or until doubled in size.
- After the first rise, knead the dough again on a lightly floured surface for 5 or 10 more minutes adding flour if necessary to keep from sticking.
- Then shape the dough to suit your loaf pan.
- Oil or grease the loaf pan and lay the dough in it, cover it, and let it rest for another hour or until it doubles in size.
- Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F.
- Score the top of your loaf with a few slits or markings.
- Bake for 35-40 minutes or until the internal temperature reaches 185 degrees F.
- When finished, carefully remove the bread from the pan and cool on a wire rack.
Now here’s the thing when baking bread at home. You need to decide your cooking vessel. You can bake bread on the simplicity of a baking sheet if you don’t have a loaf pan. However, a loaf pan in nice because as the dough rises during the second rise, it rises up. This makes for that traditional sandwich bread shape, instead of out which tends to happen when using a baking sheet. Both methods work so don’t get hung-up on having the right equipment. Just start getting into a habit of making your own bread and you’ll discover the things you want to enhance your hobby.
One investment when you’re ready, is a dutch oven. It’s easily used for all kinds of cooking endeavors and also makes fantastic bread! Dutch oven bread baking helps to trap moisture during the baking process which lends itself to the most amazing crust. If you already have one, you are in luck! Follow the above recipe through Step 7 then skip to the steps below.
Dutch Oven Bread Baking
Follow the above recipe through Step 7 then...
- Shape the dough into a round shape and place on a piece of parchment paper and set it into a pie pan.
- Cover and let rest for an hour or until doubled in size.
- Preheat your oven with the dutch oven inside to 450 degrees F.
- When it's up to tempurature, carefully remove the dutch oven and set the lid to the side.
- Score your dough and then carefully lift the dough by the parchment paper and transfer the whole thing into the hot dutch oven.
- Secure the lid and place it in the oven to bake for 30 minutes.
- After 30 minutes, remove the lid and lower the temperature to 415 degrees F and continue baking for an additional 15 minutes or the internal tempurature reached 185 degrees F.
- When finished cooking, remove the bread from the dutch oven and cool on a wire rack.
So that’s your basic bread recipe. You just need flour, yeast, and salt. Yeast tends to be an ingredient that holds wannabe bakers back, so just seek some out and keep it in the fridge. Once you have the basics of bread baking down you soon realize that pizza on a whim are possible and so much more.
Go forth and bake! And have fun sharing it with friends cause, sharing is caring!
Happy Full Moon and Spring Equinox! I’ll be back next month with a seed bread of some kind Seeds seem very springs. If you have any seed suggestions let me know. I’m going to be searching all the seedy-bread inspiration in preparation. Let me know if you have any favorites.
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