In this inaugural summer of bringing three children out to eat to places that don’t serve your dinner in paper sacks, I learned that my kids and I share a favorite thing about restaurants: the breadbasket. Especially when it’s filled with warm, chewy, just a little crunchy, freshly-baked dough. When the chicken is “too spicy” or the vegetables “too saucy,” good bread saves a meal.
A little while ago, my middle son, the biggest carbophile in our crew, started asking me to serve “restaurant bread” with dinner. The truth is, in my early 30s, when I had one baby and grand plans about home-making everything, I tried my hand at baking bread, and never landed on a good recipe that didn’t involve a day of proofing and kneading (who has the time?) or a bread machine (who has the space?)
But a couple months ago, I hit bread-recipe gold, thanks to Alicia over at Somewhat Simple. It’s (no joke) really easy, as well as a nice way to pass the time with kids: while kneading, I give them their own balls of dough to shape. It’s also delicious—perfectly soft on the inside and a little crunchy on the outside. I can’t think of a better perk to a Sunday (or a boring mid-week) dinner. It goes well with summery salad, grilled chicken, or as the weather turns to fall, soup. Serve with a side of great olive oil for dipping or whipped butter for spreading.