Rain Rain Come Today

As I sat yesterday morning, the rain was falling outside. 
Not a sound heard often here. 
San Diego is waaaayyyy behind on rainfall this year.
We are at 0.09" for the season and have some catching up to do. 
From the sound on my roof, we made a dent. 

After madly rushing outside to move the potteds from 
under the eaves out into the rain, I am dried off and cozy by the fire.
Yes, I start a fire at 4:00 a.m.  
Take the chill off.
Let the flames ignite my imagination.
Pioneer thoughts of blessings for shelter.
Fairy sparks rising for their brief life dancing above the logs.
With coffee and vitamins in hand, I plan dinner. 
Part is already done....home-baked bread. 
I make this nearly every week in the colder months 
and love every step of the process.
The smell of bread rising in the bowl.  
Warm and yeasty. 
All bubbles and life.
The feel of the bread as it gets moved to second rise. 
Floured but slightly sticky hands caress it to a soft mound on the towel.
It's soft pliable body, like a precious baby bottom. 
Dish towel covered like a baby down for a nap.
The warmth of the oven preheating for the bake
adding to the warmth of the fire.
The beauty of removing the towel after the second rise
to see it grown and ready for transformation to 
a golden dome of comfort food. 
The aroma that fills our little home while it bakes.
I sometimes leave, stepping outside to clear the smell
so when I step back into the house, the aroma hits.
Bathing my senses with it's warm welcome.
I am now craving it.
Fresh from the oven.
Crusty golden on the outside.
Warm and soft on the inside.
Creamy butter melting into the crevices.
Simply Heaven.
Are you craving it too?

Here is the simple and divine recipe.

3 cups all purpose King Arthur flour.
2 teaspoons kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon active yeast.
1 1/2 cups warm water. 

Place flour, salt and yeast in mixer with dough hook.
Let the dough hook mix just to get it started. 
Slowly add the warm water and turn up the speed 
let it run a bit as the dough pulls away from the sides,
clinging to the hook like it is hanging on for dear life. 
Getting all dizzy in the bowl.
Pull off the the hook and make a little mound.
Cover bowl with plastic wrap and let rise overnight.
Magic in the morning......

Tear off two large sheets of parchment paper.  
Flour one - not generously but make certain there is a 
good coating of flour.
Gently remove the bubbly dough
and place on the lightly floured parchment. 
Don't over-handle, this dough is young and sensitive.
Kinda like a teenager.  
Handle with care. 
Cover with a sheet of plastic wrap and let her rest for 15 minutes.

Uncover and fold the dough over on itself.
Re-flour surface if needed and place seam side down.
Dust that dome with flour, cover with second parchment sheet
and then top all with a kitchen towel.  
Let her nap for 2 hours.  
She will double in size.

Preheat oven to 450* with the covered French oven heating in there too.
Remove French oven carefully - hotter than August pavement. 
Gently turn dough over so she is seam side up
and remove that now top sheet of parchment.
Lift the parchment with dough and 
slide it into the French oven, jiggle to center.
Cover and bake 30 minutes. 
Remove lid  and surprise - she's grown up a bit!
Return to oven for another 20-30 minutes until 
the color of gold you prefer. 
Lightly golden or full on summer beach tan.
Queue Stevie Wonder...
Isn't She Lovely...

Even the parchment has a lovely patina. 
All amber and gold.

Lift the parchment and bread to rack and let cool a bit
but if you can't wait, slice.

Schmeer on the butter.
Enjoy with soup, a breakfast toast,
your gravy sponge, dipped in olive oil & Balsamic vinegar,
a rustic sandwich with salami & cheese,
a bite with a glass of hearty red wine.
Whatever your fancy....this will change your attitude to bread.

Final little tip - to keep bread tasting "just baked",
slice entire loaf within 24 hours of baking.
Place on parchment lined cooking sheet in the freezer. 
Once frozen, bag them and keep them in the freezer.
Bring to room temp in no time 
or speed it up with the toaster.
Each slice will be just as good as day one....

Thanks for stopping by Moonlight Lane!



  1. Your writing is like poetry, Holly! Thank you for your inspiration and your "golden" version of "Wonder" bread.


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