If you could see me right now, you’d know I am jumping for joy for this post.
Because this beautiful loaf — this glorious no-knead Dutch oven bread — might just be the very best bread I’ve ever baked. Seriously. And it also happens to be one of the easiest ever, too. And I’m going to show you, step by step, just how to do it.
Like I said, so much jumping for joy. And for carbs.
Why is it that weekends are always one day too short? Or maybe more like five days too short? If we can start a petition for full-week weekends, I would really rally for that one.
Until then, I suppose I’ll settle for the two days (or two and a half, if you start counting 4 p.m. on a Friday as the weekend, as I do) we have for now. And this past weekend was one of the more memorable ones: not only because we went with friends to their family’s lakeside cabin, but also because we had this whole wheat chocolate chip zucchini bread to snack on while we were there. Fresh air, pine trees, calm water, warm sun, cool drinks, babbling babies, grilled food, bonfires, Reese’s s’mores (!), good conversation — it was all there. The days went by fast, but I savored every moment — especially the ones involving slices of this bread.
I know you’re probably all sorts of excited about this bread you see here (as am I, always), but let me first call attention to the fact that I GRILLED AGAIN. (!!!)
I know this may seem like no big deal, as grilling is one of the easiest ways to cook things, but to me it’s always been a bit of a battle. How hot is too hot? Are the burners even on? How do I not accidentally drop any vegetables between the grates this time? Why does the steak always stick to the grill? There has been much hand-wringing by yours truly around a grill, as you may imagine.
But one of my goals this summer was to master the grill. And I don’t mean just plopping some hot dogs on there and calling it a day — I mean learning how to make a decent kabob, or not fear the idea of grilling bread. So far, both have been accomplished with ease (and with seriously delicious results, too).
I don’t have even a scoch of Southern blood in me, but my love of the region’s biscuits runs deep. It hasn’t always been this way, though — in my childhood, I had one too many run-ins with dry, crumbly, powdery biscuits that left nothing behind but the taste of flour in my mouth. I swore off biscuits for a good long while, that is, until I was old enough (and smart enough?) to try making them in my own kitchen.
That journey, however, is peppered with its own experiences of flat, dense, under-risen biscuits with no flavor. What is such a simple food can sometimes be so finicky and frustrating. And YET. And yet I knew I couldn’t give up, because there had to be a way to redeem all those years of subpar biscuits and it had to be done by me, in my kitchen. Preferably with lots of butter.
I am here to tell you I finally figured it all out, guys and gals. I think I have found the most perfectly flaky, fluffy Southern buttermilk biscuits I will ever be able to make at home. And they’re SO EASY, too. Which means if you follow along with me on this journey to buttery biscuitdom, by the end you, too, will be a biscuit lover (if you weren’t already).
If there is anything the Irish know best — well, besides a well-brewed pint of beer and how to make cabbage actually taste good — it’s their bread.
I say this not even being a huge fan of soda bread. It’s just too dry and boring for me, and I’ll always associate it with that one time in fourth grade that I tried to make it for a school project (about… the Irish? I don’t even know) and it baked like a solid rock (and tasted like I’d imagine one would, too). I won’t even talk about that other time in eighth grade when I tried making kimchi. Oy.
Now I know (I hope) my skills in the ways of bread baking have come a long way since my preteen days, but it’s just one of those memories I can’t shake. So when I decided to give Irish brown bread a try, I did so with much trepidation.
I refuse to talk about the weather. How winter’s chill has officially cut to the bone, how I can wear a full down jacket with a furry hood, a scarf that wraps around my neck 100 times, extra-thick mittens, fleece-lined leggings, leg warmers and snow boots and STILL shiver me timbers, how all I want to do these days is sit wrapped in a blanket by the fireplace with an oversized mug of hot cocoa with marshmallows on top cupped in my hands and watch the snow fall against the gray sky and reminisce about those dreamy days back in July when I, if I can even believe it, wore flip flops outdoors and my teeth didn’t chatter incessantly. The wonder!
But like I said, I refuse to talk about it. So let’s talk about these tasty caramelized shallot and smoked Gruyere gougeres — a.k.a. perfect little puffy bites of cheesy, caramelized deliciousness — instead.