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Kitchen Hack: One-Minute Bread

Kitchen Hack: One-Minute Bread

    Oven-fresh bread is one of life’s simple joys. Ciabatta, a crisp-crusted Italian bread with hints of sourdough and loads of crannies longing for butter, is one of the easiest breads to make at home.

    Why are we talking about baking bread on Lifehack? Because kitchen hacks aren’t just impressive, they often have very tasty results! In this instance, I’m going to show you how to make ciabatta with less than one minute of prep time. How is that possible? Like many great hacks, this one uses simple ingredients and as few steps as possible to get the job done.

      You may have heard of “no-knead” bread before. Mark Bittman and many others have promoted their versions of an artisan bread that doesn’t require any heavy labor. While those recipes also create delicious results, they involve too many steps to be considered a real hack.

      I wanted something very, very simple that delivered great results in 60 seconds of prep time or less. It may take you a few tries to get below the one-minute mark, but I think you’ll enjoy the results every time!

      For your ciabatta you’ll need:

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      • 4 cups of all-purpose flour (do NOT pack the flour into the measuring cup)
      • 2 cups of warm water
      • 1 teaspoon of salt
      • 1/4 teaspoon of granulated yeast (or equivalent)


      For the gorgeous readers needing metric equivalents of this recipe, Toon left a comment with the following conversion:

      • 500 grams of all-purpose flour
      • 4,7 deciliter of warm water
      • 4 grams of salt (= 1 teaspoon = 5 ml)
      • 1 gram of dry yeast (= 1/4 teaspoon = 1,25 ml)


      You’ll also need a medium-size mixing bowl, a 10×15 cookie sheet or baking stone, a hand towel or plastic wrap, and whatever you’d like to keep your bread from sticking (if you’re using a pan, I use flour and corn meal).

      Have everything handy? Good. Let’s do this!

      1. Mix Water & Yeast

      Pour the warm water into the medium-size mixing bowl and stir in the yeast with a spoon. No need to be particular, just dump and slosh.

        2. Add Flour And Salt

        Add flour and salt to your bowl of yeasty water. This, after measuring out the flour, presents another prime opportunity to get flour on your person. This will be regarded by many as a sign of your culinary determination. You’ll need such signs because anybody who actually watches you make the bread will think you’re one of the laziest bakers in existence.

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          3. Stir Into A Heavy Batter

          Use a spoon. You could use your hands if you wanted but you probably didn’t wash your hands before starting this anyhow. Start with a quick run about around the perimeter of the bowl with your spoon. A few quick strokes through the middle and you should have a heavy batter. If it looks too thick to be pancake batter and not thick enough to be playdough, you’re right on target.

            4. Set It And Nearly Forget It

            Cover your project with a hand towel or plastic wrap and set in a safe place for a few hours. After the dough has rested for 8 to 12 hours, it will have nearly doubled in size. (If you add a bit of sugar at the start and you’re in a hurry, you can rush this process but I don’t recommend it for your first try.)

              5. Preheat Oven & Prepare Your Pan

              There’s a lot of room for variation at this stage. The goal is to place the dough onto a surface that will keep it from falling through the oven rack and not stick on. I use an old cookie sheet sprinkled with flour and corn meal. You can use a buttered pan, pizza stone, or baking paper. It’s up to you. The flour/cornmeal method takes only a few seconds.

              Before you start prepping your pan/stone, set your oven to 400F. (For those of you using wood stoves, don’t stress the particulars. Pull a few cedar shingles off the back porch roof and get that fire burning hot!)

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                6. Pour Out The Batter

                This is the fun part! Uncover the bowl of dough and slowly pour it out onto the pan you just prepared for it. You’ll want to use a spoon to guide the dough into place and get the last bits out of the bowl. The dough will be very wet and sticky. That’s okay! Get the dough out onto the pan and if you’re lucky, it’ll look something like this:

                  7. Add Spices (If Needed) & Place Bread Into 400F Oven

                  If you’re trying to stay within the one-minute prep, you probably won’t have time to sprinkle some of your favorite herbs onto your ciabatta before baking. If you’re not worried about time, some dried oregano, basil, and rosemary make a nice addition.

                    8. Remove Your Ciabatta From The Oven

                    Check on your ciabatta after about 25 minutes. Once it’s golden brown on top and looks good to eat, take it out of the oven and set it aside to cool for at least 10 minutes. You can cut into it immediately but if you do it’ll collapse and won’t look as pretty.

                    Wait! You really thought I wanted you to take a hot pan out of a 400F oven without some sort of protection? Craziness! If you don’t have an oven mitt handy, take off your shirt, fold it so there will be at least 6 layers of cloth protecting your hand, remove the pan from the oven and place in a safe spot to cool.

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                      9. Slice & Enjoy

                      Move your ciabatta off the pan or baking stone and onto a proper cutting board for demolition and devouring. Ciabatta is famous as a sandwich bread but, like most breads, it’s absolutely delicious right out of the oven.

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                        Feedback Time!

                        1. What do you think of this hack?
                        2. Will you try it? (Let me know if you do. I’d love to see a photo of your results, too!)
                        3. Would you like to see more articles like this on Lifehack? If so, is there something in particular you’d like us to cover?

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                        More by this author

                        Seth Simonds

                        Seth writes about lifestyle tips on Lifehack.

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                        Last Updated on February 25, 2020

                        What Everyone Is Wrong About Achieving Inbox Zero

                        What Everyone Is Wrong About Achieving Inbox Zero

                        Ah, Inbox Zero. An achievement that so many of us long for. It’s elusive. It’s a productivity benchmark. It’s an ongoing battle.

                        It’s also unnecessary.

                        Don’t get me wrong, the way Inbox Zero was initially termed is incredibly valuable. Merlin Mann coined the phrase years ago and what he has defined it as goes well beyond the term itself.[1]

                        Yet people have created their own definition of Inbox Zero. They’re not using it with the intent that Mann suggested. Instead, it’s become about having nothing left in immediate view. It’s become about getting your email inbox to zero messages or having an empty inbox on your desk that was once filled with papers. It’s become about removing visual clutter.

                        But it’s not about that. Not at all.

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                        Here’s what inbox zero actually is, as defined by Mann:

                        “It’s about how to reclaim your email, your atten­tion, and your life. That “zero?” It’s not how many mes­sages are in your inbox–it’s how much of your own brain is in that inbox. Especially when you don’t want it to be. That’s it.” – Merlin Mann

                        The Fake Inbox Zero

                        The sense of fulfillment one gets from clearing out everything in your inbox is temporary at best, disappointing at worst. Often we find that we’re shooting for Inbox Zero just so that we can say that we’ve got “everything done that needed to be done”. That’s simply not the case.

                        Certainly, by removing all of your things that sit in your inbox means that they are either taken care of or are well on their way to being taken care of. The old saying “out of sight, out of mind” is often applied to clearing out your inbox. But unless you’ve actually done something with the stuff, it’s either not worth having in your inbox in the first place or is still sitting in your “mental inbox”.

                        You have to do something with the stuff, and for many people, that is a hard thing to do. That’s why Inbox Zero – as defined by Mann – is not achieved as often as many people would like to believe. It’s this “watered down” concept of Inbox Zero that is completed instead. You’ve got no email in your inbox and you’ve got no paper on your desk’s inbox. So that must mean you’re at Inbox Zero.

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                        Until the next email arrives or the next document comes your way. Then you work to get rid of those as quickly as possible so that you can get back to Inbox Zero: The Lesser again. If it’s something that can be dealt with quickly, then you get there. But if they require more time, then soon you’ve got more stuff in your inboxes. So you switch up tasks to get to the things that don’t require as much time or attention so that you can get closer to this stripped down variation of Inbox Zero.

                        However, until you deal with the bigger items, you don’t quite get there. Some people feel as if they’ve let themselves (or others) down if they don’t get there. And that, quite frankly, is silly. That’s why this particular version of Inbox Zero doesn’t work.

                        The Ultimate Way to Get to Inbox Zero

                        So what’s the ultimate way to get to Inbox Zero?

                        Have zero inboxes.

                        The inbox is meant to be a stop along the way to your final destination. It’s the place where stuff sits until you’re ready to put it in the place where it sits until you’re ready to deal with it.

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                        So why not skip the inbox altogether? Why not put it in the place where it sits until you’re ready to deal with it? Because that requires immediate action. It means you need to give the item some thought and attention.

                        You need to step back and look at it rather than file it. That’s why we have a catch-all inbox, both for email and for analog items. It allows us to only look at these things when we’re ready to do so.

                        The funny thing is that we can decide when we’re ready to without actually looking at the inbox beforehand. We can look at things on our own watch rather than when we are alerted to or feel the need to.

                        There is no reason why you need an inbox at all to store things for longer than it sits there before you see it. None. It’s a choice. And the choice you should be making is how to deal with things when you first see them, rather than when to deal with things you haven’t looked at yet.

                        Stop Faking It

                        Seeing things in your inboxes is simply using your sight. Looking at things in your inbox when you first see them is using insight.

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                        Stop checking email more than twice per day. Turn off your alerts. Put your desk’s inbox somewhere that it can be accessed by others and only accessed by you when you’re ready to deal with what’s in it. Don’t put it on your desk – that’s productivity poison.

                        If you want to get to Inbox Zero — the real Inbox Zero — then get rid of those stops along the way. You’ll find that by doing that, you’ll be getting more of the stuff you really want done finished much faster, rather than see them moving along at the speed of not much more than zero.

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                        Featured photo credit: Web Hosting via unsplash.com

                        Reference

                        [1] Merlin Mann: Inbox Zero

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