Konika bread

IMG_1271This is my friend Konika (like Monica, but with a K) Wright and her daughter Sydney. She is wonderful– creative, caring, honest, and talented. Besides bringing her two kids, Benjamin and Sydney, very important persons in our household, to Curahuasi, she herself has been a real blessing to me. She is my “mom friend.” I can call her and say, “Aaah! We can buy an extra uniform this week! Less laundry stress!” or “Did you get the boys’ math homework? What were those symbols?” She and I see eye to eye on lots of issues and I am thankful to God for providing such a friend. Everyone needs someone to say, “I agree. That’s what I was thinking too.”

Many times I call Konika to say, “Can I please have that recipe?” She is a fabulous cook and baking is her specialty. There is another amazing family here, the Friedemanns, who do many things at the hospital, among them making bread and cheese for the missionary community. Michel makes over 500 rolls and many loaves of bread each week. He is training Konika to take over since they are going home in June. She gets to the hospital before 6:00 am on Tuesdays and makes bread for several hours in the big industrial kitchen. There is a hospital employee who grows wheat on her farm and sells it to Michel. Another group of people sort and clean it, they take it to someone to grind it, and then they use it to make the bread. The wheat itself is supporting a whole community! The resultant loaves are deliciously whole grain-y and heavy. We call it German bread.

In our house, when the kids see a bowl of wet-looking dough rising in the windowsill, they say, “Yea! Konika bread!” Now German bread is Konika bread too. What follows is original Konika bread, a no-knead, fail-proof air-pocketed bread. Enjoy some tonight!

Konika Bread

2 cups flour
2 teaspoons yeast
1 1/2 to 2 teaspoons salt
sprinkle of sugar
1 1/2 cups warm water

Combine the flour, yeast, salt, and sugar in a large bowl. Add the warm water and stir. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap or a towel and leave it for a couple of hours or more. Heat your oven to 350 or 400 (our oven is either on or off, so I don’t really know). Line your baking sheet with a silicone liner (Silpat) or parchment paper and drizzle a little olive oil over it. Turn the bowl over and dump the dough out. Konika gathers her dough in and lets it re-rise. Sometimes I do or sometimes I just plop it on the sheet and put it in the oven. I like to drizzle the top with a little olive oil to help it brown and crisp a little. It should be done in about 20 to 25 minutes. As Konika says, “It doesn’t look pretty, but it tastes good.” Konika reports that her friend bakes it in a Dutch oven with the cover on and it turns out nice and crispy. Try it if you have an oven-proof pot. One day I’ll retrieve mine from storage…

Keeping people happy…

Pizza time!

Pizza time!

… is easy to do when you feed them pizza. Here is something that can make our family’s day, any day, and it does so about once a week– it is a little piece of home and so yummy too. At first we were sad that there is not any good pizza in town, but now we are big fans of this recipe. I have found that pizza making is pretty enjoyable– the stretchy dough, the painting of the sauce, and the end result is certainly rewarding, making every member of the family happy at once.

This is a calzone recipe from Cuisine at Home, a magazine my sister-in-law recommended to me and I can heartily recommend to others. It makes two about 10” pizzas. We have started to need to make three!

Pizza Dough
1 c. warm water
1 package yeast (2 1/4 teaspoons)
1/4 teaspoon sugar
2 tablespoons olive oil
3 c. flour
1 tablespoon sugar
2 teaspoons salt

Sprinkle yeast and 1/4 teaspoon sugar over warm water and let it sit for several minutes. When it is foamy, add the olive oil. In the meantime, put the flour, tablespoon of sugar, and salt into a food processor or large mixing bowl and combine. Add the yeast mixture and either process until it forms a ball or mix until all dry ingredients are moistened. Now knead it on a lightly floured surface about 10 times. Put the dough into a bowl with about 1/2 tablespoon of olive oil on the bottom and turn it over so that it gets oiled on top and bottom. Cover with plastic wrap and let it rise for at least an hour. Cut the ball into two pieces and roll into whatever shape your cookie sheet or pizza pan is.
If you have a good working surface, don’t sprinkle much flour at all for rolling out your crust or it will spring back and you’ll never get a thin crust. I like it pretty thin, so I let it stick to the table until I get it the size I want. It peels off easily. I read on the Internet that you can turn a cookie sheet over and bake on it so that you can slide your pizza off. I put a tiny bit of corn flour (it’s like cornmeal only more fine) down first, peel the dough off the table, arrange it on the turned-over cookie sheet, and add a simple tomato sauce and mozzarella cheese. This is an important tip, because if you build your pizza on your working surface instead of your baking surface, it is very hard to move the pizza onto your baking surface. I’ve learned that the hard way! We like pizza margherita, with just cheese and basil, or a few slices of ham. We haven’t gotten too crazy with the toppings yet, but there is more pizza to come, never fear… When you come to visit us, I’ll make you a hot, delicious, Allison’s Pizza Kitchen pizza!