The new school year has kicked off here and it has been good to have the kids at school from the first day rather than coming in a couple of months into the school year. We know what to expect this year and all the kids are happy to return to school with all their friends and their new teachers.
I thought the 10 week summer holiday would drag on and on but it sped by. We got to explore more of beautiful California and the kids went on a few summer camps. Joel and I got to go to London and Paris for a week too. Having time away from the daily routine of 4 kids to care for gave me plenty of time to reflect and think about the future. It dawned on us how quickly the last 10 years have gone and how in 10 years time possibly 2 of our children would have flown the nest! So I came home and culled a few time wasting activities from my life with a renewed focus on family.
We have clocked up 1 year since we arrived here in the USA. It is a relief to me to hit that 1 year mark as I knew the first year would be hardest. Hopefully this next year will involve less time standing in lines, filling out forms and paperwork and more time just enjoying this unique part of the world.
With school back I need to get my head around school lunches again. I try and mix up what goes into the school lunch boxes but at the moment it is fruit, a sandwich and some raw vegetables, with or without some hommus dip. Some mornings we will cycle downtown bright and early for some freshly baked bread but Essie doesn’t like it which is not ideal. So a couple of times a week the kids have been taking turns at mixing the ingredients for this No Knead Bread just before bedtime. I then cover the bowl with clingfilm and leave it on the kitchen bench overnight to be baked first up in the morning.
The next morning, after my alarm goes off, I stumble downstairs and turn on the oven to preheat. Then I just form the dough into individual rolls onto a lined baking sheet and bake for 30 minutes. It still gives me a good hour for the rolls to cool down and be filled before heading out the door to school.
The dough is wet and sticky so I find it best to flour the bench and gently tip the dough out. I then divide the dough with an oiled plastic pastry scraper and scoop up a portion onto the tray and shape roughly into a round. It is best not to be too concerned with shaping the dough too much as you don’t want to knock all the fantastic air bubbles out. Those air bubbles make this bread so irresitably light and crumpet like. As soon as they come out of the oven it is hard resisting ripping a roll open and slathering it in butter. A satisfying start to the day.
If the rolls are still too warm to fill for school lunches then I’ll just throw them in a paperbag whole and put some sliced cheese, ham or a boiled egg in a lunch box for a bit of a ploughman’s lunch. The kids enjoy a lunch that they can pick at.
no knead breadrolls
500g bread flour
3/4 tablespoon instant dried yeast
1/2 tablespoon salt
1/4 teaspoon sugar
450ml – 500ml lukewarm water (enough water to make a wet, sticky dough)
In a large bowl, mix all the ingredients together well. I mix by hand but some of my kids prefer to use a wooden spoon. Cover the bowl with clingfilm and leave overnight.
The next morning, preheat oven to 220 degrees C (425 degrees F). Dust the benchtop with some flour and gently tip the dough onto it. Oil a plastic pastry scraper or a knife and divide the dough into 8 equal portions. Gently pick up each portion and place on a lined baking tray. Dust with a little extra flour and bake for 30 – 40 minutes or until cooked through. Tap the base of the breadrolls and listen for a hollow sound which indicates they are cooked. Allow to cool for at least 15 minutes.