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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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                        Seth Simonds

                        Seth writes about lifestyle tips on Lifehack.

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                        Last Updated on February 13, 2020

                        What Is Speed Reading and How to Successfully Learn It

                        What Is Speed Reading and How to Successfully Learn It

                        Too much to read, too little time! Don’t you wish you could read faster without compromising your knowledge intake? This is where a valuable learning technique comes to the rescue: speed reading.

                        Speed reading is the top skill to learn in 2020. Read on to find out all about this amazing technique!

                        What Is Speed Reading?

                        On average, an adult can read somewhere between 200 to 300 words per minute. With speed reading, you can read around 1500 words per minute.[1] Yes, that sounds impossible, but it is true.

                        In order to understand how this skill works, you first need to know how the reading process works inside a human’s brain.

                        The Reading Process

                        The first step is for the eyes to look at a word. This “fixation” on every word takes around 0.25 seconds.

                        Next, the eye moves on to the following word. It takes 0.1 seconds for the brain to move from one word to the next. This is called “saccade.”

                        Usually, a person reads 4 to 5 words or a sentence at once. After all the fixations and saccades, the brain goes over the entire phrase again in order to process the meaning. This takes around half a second.

                        All in all, this allows the average person to read 200 to 300 words in a minute.

                        Speeding up the Process

                        The concept of speed reading is to speed up this process at least 5 times. Since the saccade period cannot be shortened any further, speed reading emphasizes quicker fixations.

                        To accomplish this, scientists recommend that the reader skips the subvocalization: when the readers actually say the word in their mind, even when reading silently.

                        Basically, speed reading is the technique of only seeing the words instead of speaking them silently.

                        Do not confuse this with skimming. When a reader skims through a text, they skip the parts that their brain considers to be unnecessary.

                        You may skip important information in this process. Moreover, skimming does not allow the brain to retain what has been read.

                        Why Speed Read?

                        Speed reading is not just quick, but also effective. This skill saves a lot of of time without sacrificing information.

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                        Also, it has been proven to improve memory. The brain’s performance improves during speed reading, which allows the reader to remember more information than before.

                        Since speed reading stabilizes the brain, the information is processed faster and more efficiently.

                        Believe it or not, this technique leads to improved focus, too. As the brain receives a lot of information during speed reading, there is far less chance of distraction. The brain focuses solely on the job at hand.

                        Since the brain is, after all, a muscle, the process of speed reading acts as an exercise. Just like the rest of your muscles, your brain needs exercise to grow stronger, too.

                        A focused brain means improved logical thinking. As your brain gets used to receiving and organizing so much information so quickly, your thinking process will become faster.

                        As soon as a problem is thrown at you, your brain will quickly put two and two together. You will be able to retrieve stored information, figure out correlations, and come up with new solutions, all within seconds!

                        Still not convinced? Read 10 Reasons Why You Should Learn Speed Reading

                        Greater Benefits

                        With a healthier brain, you can expect better things in other parts of your life, too. A boost in self-esteem is just one of them.

                        As you begin to understand information at a faster pace, you will also begin to figure out more opportunities all around you.

                        With the ability to deeply understand information in a shorter period of time, your confidence levels will quickly grow higher.

                        Moreover, all the aforementioned benefits will relieve you of stress. You will manage your readings in lesser time, your brain will be healthier, and you will feel so much better about yourself.

                        With all these advantages, your emotional well-being will be healthier than ever. You’ll feel less stress since your brain will learn to tackle problems efficiently. Speed reading will lead to a relaxed, tension-free lifestyle!

                        How to Learn to Speed Read

                        Speed reading is a superpower. Fortunately, unlike other superpowers, this one can be learned!

                        There are different techniques that can be used to master this skill. Opt for the one that best suits your learning style.

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                        1. The Pointer Method

                        The person who is credited for popularizing speed reading, Evelyn Wood, came up with the pointer method. It is a simple technique in which the reader uses their index finger to slide across the text that they’re reading.

                        As the finger moves, the brain coherently moves along with it. It is an effective technique to keep the eyes focused where the finger goes without causing any distraction.

                        Readers have a tendency to back-skip. The pointer method prevents this from happening, thereby saving at least half the reading time.

                        2. The Scanning Method

                        In this technique, the reader’s eyes move along one part of the page only. This can be the left or right side of the text but is usually the center since that is the most convenient.

                        Instead of pacing through the entire text from left to right, the vision shifts from top to bottom.

                        This method involves fixation on keywords such as names, figures, or other specific terms. By doing so, the saccade time is minimized.

                        3. Perceptual Expansion

                        Generally, a reader focuses on one word at a time. This technique, on the other hand, encourages the brain to read a chunk of words together. In doing so, this method increases the reader’s peripheral vision.

                        Here’s the thing: even though the fixation time remains the same with perceptual expansion, the number of words that the eyes fixate on increases.

                        So basically, the brain receives 5 times more information within the same amount of time.

                        This technique is the hardest to master and takes the most time to learn. You’ll need help from speed reading tools in order to practice the perceptual expansion method.

                        However, once you master it, this technique will offer you the fastest reading pace with the maximum knowledge intake.

                        The Best Speed Reading Apps

                        The easiest tool to aid any process in any part of life these days is your smartphone.

                        You can use mobile applications to learn speed reading on the go. It has been proven that regularly practicing speed reading is the fastest way to learn this skill. [2]

                        Here are a few great options to look into:

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                        1. Reedy

                        If you own an Android smartphone, you can download Reedy to your mobile. Otherwise, get the chrome extension on your laptop to enjoy speed reading with Reedy.

                        This app trains readers to read faster by displaying words one by one on the screen. Instead of having to go through lines or long texts, Reedy prepares the user to focus on one word at a time.

                        Although this isn’t an effective method to learn speed reading long texts, it is a great way to start.

                        Once your brain gets used to the idea, you can shift to another app to train speed reading sentences or longer texts.

                        2. ReadMe!

                        Whether you’re an android or iOS user, you can take advantage of the ReadMe! application. This app even comes with some e-book options to practice speed reading on.

                        Start by choosing your desired font size, color, layout, etc. Other than that, there are different reading modes for the user to choose from.

                        If you want to practice reading sentence by sentence or in short paragraphs, you can choose the focused reading mode.

                        The beeline reader mode changes the color of the text to guide the eye to read from the beginning to the end at a certain pace.

                        Lastly, there is the spritz mode in which the app focuses on chunks of words at once. This controls the reader’s peripheral vision. However, this mode is not fully available in the free version of the app.

                        3. Spreeder

                        Spreeder is available on both iOS and Android. However, users may also gain benefits from Spreeder’s website. This application lets the reader paste in any text that they would like to speed read.

                        Starting off at a rather low speed, the app flashes words one by one. Gradually, as the user becomes more comfortable, the speed increases.

                        Slowly, the user is trained to speed read without having to skip any words.

                        This app is different from the rest because it tracks the user’s reading improvements, recording the overall reading time and speed.

                        The progress and improvement are tracked in order to motivate the user to perform even better.

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                        Adjustable settings, such as the speed of the text, background color, etc. are in the control of the user.

                        The Controversy Surrounding Speed Reading

                        Truthfully, speed reading does sound too good to be true. It’s hard to believe that it is humanly possible to attain such a fast pace in reading without compromising the quality of information you receive.

                        Perhaps as a result, there are people who do not trust the process of speed reading. They believe that when you read through a text at such a high speed, you cannot comprehend the information successfully.

                        According to these people, your brain is unable to process information at the speed that you’re reading, and so, they regard speed reading as problematic.

                        It is true that speed reading will be of no use if you do not understand the text you’re reading, no matter how quickly you did it.

                        Similarly, if you were to read slowly and still not retain or understand the information you read, that would be useless, too.

                        However, there a few factors to consider here. When reading at a normal pace, there is enough time in between every step of the process for the brain to get distracted.

                        Conversely, speed reading leaves behind no time for the brain to focus on something else. It is unlike skimming. No part of the text is skipped, which means that the brain receives every single bit of information.

                        Conclusion

                        Keeping all of this in mind, speed reading cannot be labeled a hoax or a failure. Science has backed up this technique, and numerous readers have been using this skill to improve their learning ability.

                        At the end of the day, it is your decision whether or not you want to trust this process.

                        However, if you decide to take advantage of the opportunities speed reading provides, you will find a world of possibilities opening up to you.

                        We live in a fast-paced world. Consuming information faster will help you keep up with that pace and find further success.

                        Speed Read Like a Pro!

                        Featured photo credit: Blaz Photo via unsplash.com

                        Reference

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