Country Bread

I have wanted to do try my hand at homemade bread for SO long, and like most things you put off for a long time, I found there was nothing to be scared of at all. Don't believe the hype, baking bread is actually really simple and easy. At least this recipe is. There is no labourious kneading or special equipment required, just a few extra pantry items and a lot of waiting while the yeast does it's thing. I got the recipe from Carla, which I've reproduced below, but be sure to head over to Carla's blog before you start baking, as she has great pictures and notes of the entire process.

That being said, I have a few notes of my own. I should warn you that my bread didn't rise nearly as much as Carla's did. As you can see from her pictures, her bread was overflowing out of the pan and onto the counter, whereas mine had barely reached the top of the pan! After much worrying, Googling and texting, we decided that it was because my kitchen is pretty cold. I moved the bowl to a warmer spot and then went shopping. Haha! I basically let it sit for an additional 3 hours – it rose a little more, about an inch above the pan, but at this point I was tired of waiting, so threw it in the oven, and it came out beautifully. Again, no need to worry. I've since discovered a much better proofing method whereby you warm your oven up to about 200 degrees, then turn it off and insert your bread bowl with a damp tea towel covering it. Works like a charm.

This is a dense, hearty bread that goes great with any dish that needs "sopping up". We've used it to clean our bowls of clam chowder, stew and pasta, and enjoyed every last bite. We've made this bread twice and Mike had the great idea of topping one loaf with an egg and herb mixture before popping it in the oven, which added amazing flavour (see last photo). And, you know, nothing beats the smell of fresh baked bread floating through your house. We're in the home stretch of winter here, and this is the kind of comfort food we need to get us through it!

Country Bread
via Chef Michael Smith

3 cups all-purpose or bread flour
1 cup whole wheat flour
1/2 cup any multigrain mix (I used Red River cereal)
1/2 teaspoon active dry yeast
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
2 1/4 cups warm water

In a large bowl whisk the dry ingredients together, evenly distributing the salt and yeast throughout the flour. Pour in the warm water and stir with the handle of a wooden spoon until a moist dough forms. Continue stirring until the dough incorporates all the loose flour in the bowl, 1 or 2 minutes in total. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and let rest in a warm place for 18 hours. The dough will double in size and bubble (don’t worry if you don’t see this happening – I didn’t notice a difference in the dough until the 18 hours were up), and long elastic gluten strands will form without laborious kneading.

Knock the dough down and toss it with a splash of vegetable oil, evenly coating the dough ball. Form it into a 9- x 5-inch (2 L) loaf pan and, without covering, rest it a second time. In 2 to 3 hours it will double in size once more.

Meanwhile, preheat your oven to 425°F (220°C). When the dough is ready, bake for 45 minutes. (This will result in a crunchy crust. If you prefer your bread softer, bake at 400 for about 35-40 minutes.)

Cue Soundtrack: Ben Gibbard with Trio Ellas

I've been trying to make a conscious effort to live in the moment lately and appreciate the season I'm in. No daydreaming the winter away and then wishing for it again in August, type of thing. Which is all fine and dandy when the snow is gently falling and you're cosy in bed with a book and a cup of tea. However, freezing rain on the first day back to work after a long weekend is, quite frankly, a challenge in mental stability. I usually turn to music to pull me out of these kinds of lows, and this beautiful tune is doing the trick for me today. I hope it does the same for you!

Be Mine

(top to bottom) beautiful bouquet via Uschi & Kay; wood menu by Julie Song Ink via Style Me Pretty; tea heart photo by Oksana Nazarchuk; lavender truffles via Design Sponge; heart sleeve by love made me do it; rose cupcakes via Bakers Royale; adorable girl and her sugar cookies via Sweet Paul; embroidered skirt (no longer available from Anthropologie) via Doe C Doe; février calendar by ; rose photo by morning headache

Is it just me, or did the internet explode with hearts, flowers and pink glitter today? Quite frankly, I think it's gone a bit overboard. Does anyone like Valentine's Day that much? This seems like a trend for every holiday, actually. But rather than grumble and gripe about it anymore, I've decided to take the high road and pick out a few of the gems that jumped out at me amidst the love-invasion today. And rather than my usual Etsy collage, I turned to Pinterest as my source of inspiration this time. Happy Valentine's Day... I hope it brings you lots of sweetness and joy! xo


How incredible is this photo? I think I audibly gasped when it turned up in my Google search. (Yes, I was Googling my name. Don't pretend you don't do it too.) Obviously I was dying to know more about the story behind the photo and a quick email to the owner of the website was well worth it. The man in the photo is Fred Bauman and the plane is a P-51 fighter-bomber, which he flew in missions from Iwo Jima to Japan and back during WWII. He named it after his wife, Edna. Fred passed away in 2003, but Edna is still alive today, living in Rochester, and will turn 91 this March! Take what you will from the fact that Dear Edna's anniversary is in March too. I was given her mailing address and am seriously considering sending a note to let her know of her namesake. What do you think?

Since we're on the topic of namesakes, it's only fitting that I explain where my "Dear Edna" comes from. It is probably the most common question I get asked about my business, especially since my name isn't Edna at all. In fact, I received an email from Expat Edna just a couple weeks ago, curious for that very reason. That's fair — I would want to know too. But I'm always a little trepidatious when it comes to answering this question because it has the risk of being taken offensively. You see, it was the name that two of my girlfriends gave me one evening when we were all behaving like "old crones", as we liked to call it. Before you jump to the "oh, so you think I'm old" reaction, Ednas of the world, you can't deny that it's an old-fashioned name. My friends Bea and Gert were born of that evening as well, and our new monikers stuck, as nicknames do. We ended up addressing birthday cards and emails to each other using these alteregos and short story-lines even developed. Edna hitches up her horse-drawn carriage to go to the quilting bee, for example.  Haha! Silly girls.

So when it came time to name my business, for which traditional wares like aprons and tea cosies were the focus, Edna naturally came up. I bounced around a few other names for awhile, but always came back to dear ol' Edna. It just felt right and of course now I can't imagine anything else.

Ever since this photo popped up, I've been really interesting in names and their histories. I loved this article on business names by The Design Trust, for example. If there is a story behind your name or something you have named, please share. I'd love to hear your stories!