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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 August 6, 2019

                        Why Do I Procrastinate? 5 Root Causes And How To Tackle Them

                        Why Do I Procrastinate? 5 Root Causes And How To Tackle Them

                        Procrastination is something many people can relate to and I, myself, have been there and done that. Yes, I write all about productivity now, but when I first started out on my career path, I would often put off work I didn’t want to do. And most of the time I didn’t even realize I was doing it.

                        So what changed?

                        I thought to myself, “why do I procrastinate?” And I started to read a lot of books on productivity, learning a great deal and shifting my mind to the reasons why people procrastinate.

                        My understanding brought me a new perspective on how to put an end to the action of procrastination.

                        Procrastination slows your goals and dreams way down. It can create stress and feelings of frustration. It rears its ugly head on a regular basis for a lot of people. This is particularly apparent at work with day-to-day projects and tasks.

                        But, why do people self-sabotage in this way? Essentially, there are 5 reasons behind procrastination. See if you can identify with any of these in your own work life.

                        1. The Perfectionist’s Fear

                        Procrastination is sometimes a subconscious fear of failure.

                        If you put off a task enough, then you can’t face up to the potential (and usually imagined) negative results. If you’re a stickler for minor details, the stress of getting things ‘just right’ may be too much and cause you to delay continuing the task.

                        Either way, fear is at the root cause and can sabotage your desire to move forward.

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                        How to Tackle It?

                        Try visualizing the completion of your task in a positive way.

                        For example, you have a presentation that your boss wants you to conduct for a potential client. Visualize yourself standing in the meeting room confident, meeting the eyes of the client and seeing them light up as you explain the concept simply and concisely.

                        Imagine your boss telling you how great you did and you were the best person for the job. Think about how it would feel to you and focus on this as you move forward with the task.

                        2. A Dreamer’s Lack of Action

                        This is a person who is highly creative and has many brilliant ideas but can’t quite seem to bring them to fruition.

                        The main reason for this is because there’s usually no structure or goal setting involved once the idea has been created. This aimless approach ends up manifesting as a lack of decision-making and significant delays on a project.

                        How to Tackle It?

                        Write down a timeline of what you want to achieve and by when. Ideally, do this daily to keep yourself on track and accountable for progression. Creative minds tend to jump from one idea to the next, so cultivating focus is essential.

                        If you’re designing and creating a new product at work, set out a task list for the week ahead with the steps you want to focus on each day. Doing this ahead of time will stop your mind from wandering across to different ideas.

                        Learn about how to plan your time and take actions from some of the successful people: 8 Ways Highly Successful People Plan Their Time

                        3. An Overwhelmed Avoider

                        This is one of the most common reasons for procrastination; the sheer overwhelm of a daunting task.

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                        The complexity of a task can cause the brain to lose motivation and avoid doing it altogether choosing instead to stay in its comfort zone.

                        The search then starts for a more enjoyable task and the harder tasks are put off. This can cause stress and dread when the task inevitably comes up to be completed.

                        How to Tackle It?

                        Break the challenge down into smaller tasks and tackle each one individually.

                        For example, if you have a project that has technical elements to it that you know you’ll find challenging, list each step you need to take in order to complete these difficult elements. Think of ways you can resolve potential hurdles. Perhaps you have a coworker that may have time to help or even consider that the solution may be easier than you initially think. Put each task in order of most daunting to least daunting. Ideally, try to deal with the more challenging parts of each task in the morning so that momentum is created as the tasks get easier through the day.

                        A reward system will also help you stay motivated so, once completed, you can enjoy your treat of choice.

                        If you want to know how to better handle your feelings and stay motivated, take a look at my other article: Procrastination Is a Matter of Emotion, Here’s How to Stop It

                        4. The Busy Bee Who Lacks Prioritization

                        Either you have too many tasks or don’t truly acknowledge the differing importance of each task. The result? Getting nothing done.

                        Time is spent switching constantly from one task to another or spending too much time deciding what to do.

                        How to Tackle It?

                        It’s all about priorities and choosing important tasks over urgent ones.

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                        Make sure to question the value and purpose of each task and make a list in order of importance.

                        For example, throughout your work day, you can waste a lot of time dealing with ‘urgent’ emails from colleagues but, you need to ask yourself if these are more important than working on a task that will affect, say, several office projects at once.

                        Help yourself to prioritize and set a goal of working through your list over the next few hours reassessing the situation once the time is up.

                        In my other article, I talk about an effective way to prioritze and achieve more in less time: How to Prioritize Right in 10 Minutes and Work 10X Faster

                        5. The One with Shiny Object Syndrome (Distraction-Prone)

                        This is another common cause for procrastination; just simple distraction.

                        Our brains aren’t wired to focus for long periods of time and it looks for something else. So throw in a bunch of colleagues equally looking for distractions or checking your phone mindlessly, and you’ve got a recipe for ultimate procrastination.

                        However, this type of procrastination may not always be an unconscious decision to sabotage and put off work. It’s simply a result of your work setup or types of coworkers you have. Only you know the answer to that.

                        How to Tackle It?

                        Be mindful of your workspace and potential distractions. Schedule a specific time to converse with your coworkers, put headphones on to minimize listening to what’s going on around you, and switch your phone off.

                        Aim to do this for 20-30 minutes at a time and then take a break. This will be a much more efficient way of working and getting what you need done. This is also why scheduling down time is so important for productivity.

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                        Whether this type of procrastination is self-sabotage or being a victim of a distracting environment, either way you can take control.

                        If you need a little more guidance on how to stay focus, this guide can help you: How to Focus and Maximize Your Productivity (the Definitive Guide)

                        Bottom Line

                        I’m going to be bold and assume you identified with at least one of these procrastination pitfalls.

                        You could be trapped in the endless cycle of procrastination like I was, that is, until I decided to find out my why behind putting off tasks and projects. It was only then that I could implement strategies and move forward in a positive and productive way.

                        I killed the procrastination monster and so can you. I now complete my tasks more efficiently and completely killed that feeling of stress and falling behind with work that procrastination brings.

                        I know it’s not easy to stop procrastinating right away, so I also have this complete guide to help you stop it once and for all: Procrastination – A Step-By-Step Guide to Stop Procrastinating

                        Featured photo credit: Luke Chesser via unsplash.com

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