crusty bread

This past week I reached a milestone.  As of last Friday, I achieved a major weight loss/healthy living goal.

I lost almost 20 lbs - over my goal of 10% of my total starting weight that I had set for myself back in March.

Sure, it's not rapid weight loss by any means (at an average of 2.85 lbs per month), but it's not so much about losing weight as much as it is about changing my lifestyle habits.  I feel better.  My BMI is 1/2 a point shy of the "normal" category, and I know that I'm already reaping health benefits that I'm not even noticing.
before and after - i'm almost too embarrassed to even share the before picture
The thing is - it's not that hard once you get into a groove, a routine.  I don't deprive myself as I know that if I do I'll eventually cave; I just make sure that I'm eating treats in moderation, and to keep an eye on my portion sizes.

So, what did I do to celebrate this milestone?  I made (and ate) bread, of course!  It may seem strange, but in my eyes, it's all about balance.  Treats and veggies.  Nights on the couch, and days of lots of activity.  The yin and yang of a healthy lifestyle.  And for me, it's working - I feel pretty freaking fantastic!

from Simply So Good

This bread is ridiculously simple to make, and produces a nice, crusty crust and a soft inside.  It also tastes fantastic and is great made into a grilled cheese sandwich.  As there are no perservatives in the bread, make sure to eat in within a couple of days after baking.  This is also a great base recipe for other breads (add rosemary, cheese, etc.).

3 cups unbleached, all-purpose flour
1 3/4 teaspoons salt
1 1/2 teaspoons active dry yeast
1 1/2 cups lukewarm water

Start by measuring 3 cups of flour into a large bowl.  You want the bowl to be large as this is the bowl that the dough will be left to rise in.  Add the salt and yeast and whisk together to combine.

Add the water and stir together until there are no dry bits left.  Note that the dough will be VERY sticky.  I find this easiest to do with my hands, however, be warned that you'll be covered with sticky dough.  Also, you should probably remove your wedding rings before diving in there with your bare hands - I learned the hard way.  Sad face.

Once everything is combined, cover with plastic wrap and leave the dough to rise on the counter for 12 to 18 hours. 

After the dough has had a chance to rise, preheat your oven to 450 F.  Place your EMPTY dutch oven (or any oven-proof dish with a lid) into the oven, lid and all, for thirty minutes.  While the pot is heating in the oven, dump the dough onto a heavily-floured surface and shape into a ball.  Cover dough with plastic wrap. 

After 30 minutes remove the hot pot from the oven and place the dough ball inside.  Cover with the lid and bake for 30 minutes.  Remove the lid and bake for an additional 15 minutes.  Once baked, set on a wire rack to cool.

1 comment:

Lindsay said...

Congratulations!! So happy for you! You sure make a girl wanna do better! And that bread looks delish :)