Or, the day we just failed.
These chips were partly to blame, but it was mostly because I still didn't have the makings of breakfast in the house. Let's start at the beginning. I needed to make yogurt, and I needed to buy berries. By the time I got to the store, I was starving, so I bought the chips. In my defense, all of their ingredients meet the challenge's requirements, and there are only 6 ingredients (1 above the challenge's restrictions)... but you're not supposed to eat the whole bag. And after you eat 4 or 5 servings of something super high in protein and fiber, you're really not hungry for anything else.
So, no breakfast. Shanti and I had salads for lunch. And we finished off the leftovers for dinner (no more stupid leftovers!).
New day, and a frost-covered landscape allows for a clean slate!
So, on to my successes. I made yogurt. And I have berries in the house. And I made bread to go with Day 4's dinner.
In fact, let's talk about how stupidly easy it is to make a healthy bread. No sugar, no refined flour. Not even conventional wheat. And? It doesn't taste healthy or whole-grain. Don't take my word -- Shanti eats this bread like it's going out of style.
I got the recipe from here, but the idea of a no-knead, bake in your Dutch oven bread is really Jim Lahey's doing. I've spoken about the book My Bread before, and anyone who loves to bake should get it. Not for the recipes. Not for the hype Mark Bittman gave him in the NYT. But for the lovingly way Lahey talks about bread and baking in the first chapters. And for those wanting to dip a toe into bread baking? Start here.
But on the Real Foods Challenge, white flour is verboten, and the whole wheat recipe in My Bread is only 50% whole wheat. Leave it to the healthy geniuses at Green Kitchen Stories to come up with an all-spelt version!
Heartened by my experiments with the whole-grain sandwich bread I'd been making from Mother Earth News, I thought it was time to branch out. Throw off the shackles and use whatever the hell was in my pantry, so long as it matched the weight of the flour in the original recipe.
I used the whole spelt called for, but instead of the white spelt, I used rye flour and oats. Not oat flour, just oats. I felt rebellious.
So you mix everything up in a bowl and let it sit 12-18 hours. That's it. Mix and leave it alone.
In the morning, it looks like this. A big mush of nothing. And it's wet and sticky.
So, you generously flour your surface and plop the dough mess onto the flour. Take a bench scraper or a silicone bowl scraper/spatula and fold the top into the center. Then the bottom. Then the left. Then the right. Turn the whole thing over and gently shape it into something ball like and put it in a bowl lined with a 2-foot-long sheet of parchment paper (this is Cooks Ill.'s fantastic idea). Your soon-to-be bread should look like this:
After a 2-3 hour rise, it will look like this:
Notice how the only work I've put into this so far was mixing the ingredients and the folding. So, maybe 15 minutes, if we include digging around looking for the ingredients.
After about 2 hours, preheat your oven to 500. Put the oven rack on the lowest position and place a large Dutch oven in there with the lid on. Yes, it's empty, but you need the lid on.
When the oven has preheated, carefully take the Dutch oven out, lift up your dough mass using the parchment paper sling to help you, and carefully place it in the Dutch oven. The parchment will hang out the sides of the Dutch oven. Just put the top back on (remember everything is HOT), and bake at 500 for 30 minutes. Then take the lid off the Dutch oven, turn the temp down to 450 and bake for another 15 minutes.
At the end, you'll get this:
The hardest part here is waiting for the bread to cool down (1-2 hours) before digging in. If you slice open the bread when it's still hot, the escaping steam will quickly condense to moisture, causing the bread's crumb to get gummy. In other words, the first hot slice will be yummy. The rest of the bread will not.
15 minutes of your time, a day of waiting, and you have amazing, healthy bread. Easy, tasty, healthy -- seriously, does it get any closer to perfect?