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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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                        Published on July 15, 2019

                        10 Simple Strategies to Make Your Life Better Starting Today

                        10 Simple Strategies to Make Your Life Better Starting Today

                        Habits are an important part of the direction you take your life, and — as I’ll share with you shortly — there are certain daily habits you can adopt right away that are guaranteed to improve your life.

                        Think back to when you were just six or seven years old…

                        At that age you probably didn’t have many habits. But, as the years went by, you picked up more and more good and bad habits.

                        You may not have thought about it before, but habit forming never really stops.

                        That’s why it’s never too late to change your habits and transform your life.

                        So, if you feel burdened by your bad habits, start kicking them into shape by replacing them with these 10 positive, life-changing strategies:

                        1. Go to Bed a Little Earlier and Wake up Earlier 

                        Starting tonight, get yourself to bed 30 minutes earlier than usual. And, then make sure you get up tomorrow morning 30 minutes earlier, too. This small change can have a BIG impact on your day. 

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                        Instead of furiously rushing in the morning to get ready for work, the extra time will give you a golden opportunity to start your day off on the right note. You can drink a smoothie while sitting on your porch, spend 10 minutes exercising and stretching, and still have time to read a few pages of an inspiring book.

                        2. Be Grateful for the Good Things in Your Life 

                        Setbacks and obstacles are inevitable in life. But, with a positive mindset, you’ll be able to overcome most of these. And, when you do, you’ll boost your self-confidence. 

                        This is something you can definitely be grateful for. 

                        However, if worst-case scenarios are playing out in your life, then sometimes, to stay strong, you’ll need to keep your mind on the good things that are happening to you. For example, your relationship with your partner might be crumbling, but your career is continuously getting stronger. It’d be easy to feel downtrodden and miserable about your relationship problems —  but, it would be much healthier to keep your mind and gratitude on these things that are going well, such as your career.

                        3. Drink Water All Day Every Day 

                        I’m sure you’ve heard the advice of drinking at least eight glasses of water a day, but are you following that advice? If not, you’re robbing your body and mind of essential hydration. 

                        With the right amount of water intake a day, you’ll be amazed how good you feel — and how good you look!

                        4. Take 15 Minutes to Set Goals for the Day, and Then Tackle Them One by One 

                        This strategy will put your life into a new stratosphere! And, it’s very simple to do. 

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                        Simply spend 15 minutes in the morning (either at home or at work) planning what you need and want to achieve during the rest of the day. Once you’ve listed your tasks, the next step is to put them into order of priority. 

                        For instance, you have three things to do: catch up with your emails, write a project update, and prepare a briefing for your CEO. It’s best if you put these in order of importance. In this example, your emails can probably wait until you’ve created your CEO brief and updated your project documentation.

                        5. Turn Off Your Cell Phone (or Put it on Airplane Mode) When You’re Focusing 

                        A 2012 study found that even looking at a cell phone or feeling it vibrate in your pocket can significantly distract focus and reduce your ability to complete complex tasks.[1]

                        It’s no surprise really, as our thoughts are subconsciously drawn towards checking our phones when they’re switched on. It’s a bad habit — but one that most of us have. However, when you need 100% focus (like I do when writing my articles), then switching your phone off, or at least putting it into airplane mode, will free your mind and supercharge your focus. Try it and see!

                        6. Walk as Much as You Can 

                        Have you noticed that most people’s lives are sedentary? They drive to work, sit in front of a screen all day, then drive home and binge on the latest Netflix series. It’s no wonder there’s a growing epidemic of obesity and mental health issues. 

                        Our bodies are made to move — so we should move them! This can be as simple as walking up the stairs to your office instead of taking the elevator, and going out for a walk around the block at lunchtime. In the evening, instead of arriving home and crashing on the sofa; spend 20 to 30 minutes walking around your block.

                        When you make these things a habit, you’ll be amazed by how much better you feel. You’ll have less stress — and more energy.

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                        7. Be Mindful of Your Surroundings

                        How often do you stop, think and appreciate the “here and now”? I’m guessing not very often. But, I understand why. Modern life is demanding and fast-paced. There’s precious little time to appreciate the small things. 

                        But, if you want to live a healthy and happy life, you must break out of this trap. You can do this by allocating 15 to 30 minutes each day for mindful meditation. This could be in a park, in your garden, or even in your lounge. The trick is to focus 100% on your surroundings. 

                        For example, if you’re outside, watch how the leaves on the trees blow around in the wind. By keeping your focus on this movement, you’ll clear your mind from your usual stresses and strains. This will give you brain a much-needed break. And, as well as improving your mental health; you’ll find your creativity gets a boost, too.

                        8. Ask for Help When You Need It 

                        No one can know or do everything. Which is why you shouldn’t be embarrassed to delegate tasks to others when needed, ask questions when you don’t have the answers, and work with partners and colleagues to clarify intentions. 

                        When I first set up Lifehack, I tried to do everything myself: blog writing, website creation, marketing, financial planning, etc. However, I quickly learned that it was much better to hire some help. Not only did this inject some fresh ideas and inspiration into Lifehack — it also made the whole operation way more enjoyable!

                        9. Practice Self Care 

                        Are you looking after yourself as well as you should? If not, then take steps to improve your diet, exercise more, and to speak to yourself with encouraging words and thoughts. 

                        The latter suggestion is often overlooked. But how you speak to yourself determines how you feel, what you believe, and what you achieve.

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                        10. Embrace Learning 

                        You cannot transform your life without learning something new. That’s because the process of change forces you to adapt. But, many people stop learning as they get older, as they find the learning process boring and bothersome. However, it doesn’t have to be this way. It can be fun and rewarding. 

                        Whether you decide to learn to play guitar or study the basics of accounting — embrace learning, and begin changing your world for the better.

                        I’m sure you’ll agree that these 10 strategies are simple enough for you to start putting them into action in your life. (I suggest you begin today!) 

                        Nevertheless, you’ll probably need to use some extra willpower for the first 30 days or so, as this is the typical length of time it takes to create a new habit. After that, these strategies will be part of your day-to-day life, and you won’t need to think about having to do them. In other words, they’ll have become habitual actions.

                        If you need any further encouragement to get started with the 10 strategies, then consider this:

                        Even just adopting one of the strategies can turn the tide in your favor. But, when you implement all 10, you’ll create an unstoppable trend towards success, health and happiness.

                        So start making your life better — today!

                        Featured photo credit: Javier Garcia via unsplash.com

                        Reference

                        [1] Deborah R. Tindell and Robert W. Bohlander, Wilkes University: The Use and Abuse of Cell Phones and Text Messaging in the Classroom: A Survey of College Students

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