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Makin’ Dough

October 26, 2010

So, after 10 years of advanced schooling, Ryan has finally started making some dough…bread dough, that is (insert rimshot here)!

I hope you enjoy his very first guest post! Without further ado…

*       *       *

It’s Ryan here, the Newlywed, Mostly Veg half of this blog couple. For months I have been clamoring for a guest post on the blog, but Anna has been hesitant, and understandably so. She puts a lot of work into the blog and doesn’t want it spoiled with nerdy rhetoric references and pictures of Batman. She knows me too well. But little did I realize that all I needed to score a coveted guest slot was to make a simple, delicious recipe from Jim Lahey’s My Bread:


I’ve made bread before in the bread machine, but something has always been missing. It tastes so soulless, so mechanical. And a little salty. Then I tasted some of the no-knead bread that our friends over at the Culinary Couple baked up, and it was delicious. Fresh, simple, and hearty. I vowed to make some immediately, and four months later, I got right on it.

Since the process is so straightforward, it’s hard to describe too much about making the bread without flat out giving away the recipe (Jim Lahey seems like a gentle, compassionate artisan who would nevertheless bring down the swift hammer of justice on copyright violators). I’ll just say that the bread making process begins by mixing a certain ratio of flour, water, salt, and yeast together and letting it rise for a very long time. This is not a spur the moment recipe, and if you are someone who gets cravings for bread, you’re going to have to anticipate them about 18 hours in advance. Such extensive preparation is new to me. Before I met Anna, my forethought for meals involved deciding whether I should cook the ramen before I ate it (it’s tasty, and vegetarian, in that prepackaged noodle brick). So I appreciated the patience that the recipe required, especially since the total work time is actually pretty short with long breaks in between.

After mixing the flour, water, salt, and yeast, you get a handsome ball of dough:

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Leave it sitting for about 14 hours, and it rises and bubbles like this:

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Once again, you ball up the dough and wrap it in a towel to let it rise for another hour or two. Right before it’s ready, preheat the oven with your bread pot inside so that it will be piping hot when the bread goes in (you know the pot is ready when you burn your hand on it, as I did). Dump the dough in the pot, and a half hour later, it’s finally ready:

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For a first attempt, the bread was excellent, if I do say so myself. It had a crunchy crust and soft middle, with rich flavor and texture:

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After savoring the first bite:

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I’m not ashamed to say that the loaf was finished by noon and gone by 7 pm. I kept eating huge chunks and telling Anna “I hope this lasts until dinner” as I shoved more into my mouth. Today, I’m starting Atkins.

I’d end this post by saying that making this bread is a great way to impress a woman, but that advice really only applies to Evan (Though a classics major will rely more on advice from Ovid’s The Art of Love.) Oh no! Classics jokes! Anna’s worst fears about my blogging instincts are starting to come true! It’s time to wrap this up before I put in the Batman pictures.


Too late!

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Ah, that guy.  He’s a regular Dane Cook.

Hope you enjoyed his post! I’ll be back at dinner tonight…have a great day!

32 Comments leave one →
  1. October 26, 2010 4:16 pm

    please send some…i tried making bread at high altitude last night and got dominated!

  2. October 26, 2010 4:17 pm

    I am SO impressed!

  3. October 26, 2010 4:26 pm

    Dude, really well done. I am so ridiculously impressed right now.

  4. October 26, 2010 4:31 pm

    OK, it’s official. I am making my own bread. It definitely looks doable. Great guest post, Ryan (batman pics and all).

  5. October 26, 2010 4:39 pm

    LOVE it. I’m all about homemade dough.

  6. October 26, 2010 4:59 pm

    I love no knead bread! It takes making home made bread to a whole different level. Ryan did a great job!

  7. October 26, 2010 5:40 pm

    You should have joined Nick in his artisanal bread baking class yesterday! Next time we’re all together you two will have to swap tips — while drinking those homebrews we have yet to break into!

  8. Terry permalink
    October 26, 2010 5:51 pm

    The Batman references are enough to vindicate the months of refusual. LOL!

  9. October 26, 2010 6:43 pm

    Funny post! And I might just get over my bread fears…

  10. October 26, 2010 7:09 pm

    You two are so cute and he’s just as funny as you are! My husband’s a baker and I’ve heard tons about that book and I think this post is the final encouragement I needed to go out and buy it for him for Christmas, so thanks! 🙂

  11. October 26, 2010 7:18 pm

    This is so great! Ryan, thanks for sharing both your humor and your bread-making abilities. You two are so cute! 🙂

  12. patti permalink
    October 26, 2010 7:42 pm

    Great post, Ryan and the bread looks great. This looks like a recipe I would like to try. I knew you couldn’t make it through without a batman reference 🙂

  13. October 26, 2010 9:50 pm

    Great post! That bread looks amazing, and I have to say…the batman cake really made the post! 😉

  14. Emo permalink
    October 26, 2010 10:21 pm

    That looks fantastic! Did you use a dutch oven?

    • October 27, 2010 12:07 pm

      Yep! You can use a dutch oven or a cast iron pot.

  15. greensandjeans permalink
    October 27, 2010 12:23 am

    Love! Was that Batman cake a DQ cake?

  16. Kristi permalink
    October 27, 2010 12:42 am


  17. Ginger permalink
    October 27, 2010 1:14 am

    Great post, Ryan! Y’all are the perfect couple – I think you might be onto something here. And, the bread looks wonderful; I’m going to buy that book tomorrow!

  18. aunt nita permalink
    October 27, 2010 1:27 am

    Way to go, Ry Guy! Looks wonderful. Em bought a book on artisan baking last year and had some great success with the recipes.

    Love you two! How many times did you and the boys watch that classic Batman? You had most of it memorized…

  19. October 27, 2010 1:44 am

    That looks great. I’ve always been scared to make my own bread.

  20. October 27, 2010 2:01 am

    The bread looks great; I think anything warm and carby from the oven is doomed to not last long.
    And how did Ryan know I have the Oxford Classical edition of Amores Ars Amatoria Remedia Amoris 2 feet in front of me?!

  21. October 27, 2010 2:06 am

    Now I want a piece of that bread!! Looks delicious!

  22. October 27, 2010 2:42 am

    WOW!! The bread looks perfect!

  23. October 27, 2010 3:03 am

    That was quite the guest post. I like. And not to mention – the bread looks awesome! Do you teach classes for husbands of food-bloggers? 🙂

  24. October 27, 2010 5:23 am

    Great work! Is there a redness to the dough, or is that an umber shadow?

    More Ryan! On tour!

    The Umber Shadow

  25. October 27, 2010 6:29 am

    great guestie, great recipe!

    my husband can neither guest post, or create recipes. I love him anyway 🙂 but super impressed w/ Ryan’s skills!

  26. October 27, 2010 11:56 am

    I love a man with a great sense of humor and that can raisin dough. 😉

  27. October 27, 2010 12:00 pm

    Love this!!! Guest posts from hubs are always so fun 🙂

  28. Kelly permalink
    October 27, 2010 1:11 pm

    Hilarious!!! The bread looks awesome but I really enjoyed “reading” Ryan’s personality…you two are a match made in heaven!

  29. October 27, 2010 3:07 pm

    Ha Ha Ryan. I’m very impressed that Anna actually handed over the reigns. Well done. I can’t wait to see you both at Thanksgiving.

  30. October 30, 2010 12:56 am

    Hahahahaha Ryan I love your guest post! That’s awesome! P.S. … If you’d like to find out whether this bread ships well, I believe Anna has my address and I am totally willing to be your guinea pig 🙂


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