My mom taught me to crochet at least twenty times growing up. Unlike knitting, however, it just never “stuck”. Since I’ve worked at KnitPicks, I’ve decided to learn to crochet again. How could I not be inspired by projects like Heidi’s crochet blankets? Plus, it’s not often you’ll have so many accessible teachers. The designer of my first crochet project, Kim Cameron, sits right next to me!
I started this bread warmer back when our Kitchen Crochet Collection came out. You might remember I spoke abut it in Podcast 239 when I interviewed Kim, the designer. I’m a big fan of No Knead Bread. It’s fast, delicious, and requires so little work you can’t even believe that you’ve made this bread yourself. This bread warmer promised to keep my homemade loaves warm a bit longer, so I was sold on this project, right away!
I chose to make my bread warmer in CotLin yarn (Moroccan Red for the base, edged with Wallaby and a string in Swan). I obsessed over the pattern: I started, I messed up, I ripped, I continued, I even made a spreadsheet for the rounds and stitch counts. It’s a great pattern and really simple, but with my limited time I just kept losing track of things. At one point, I lost steam completely so to inspire myself to finish I purchased this heating stone from amazon. Now I had to get the job done. When it arrived, I vowed to take this bread warmer to the finish line and this past week, I finally accomplished it – my first ever crochet project – finished!
I love how it came out. Now I have a cozy place to put my loaves of bread, and I feel so excited to start a new crochet project. Whatever will it be? If you have a suggestion, I’d love to hear it, and in the meantime, please make some no knead bread with the recipe below, and crochet up a warmer to keep your yummy loaf warm (the pattern includes a square warmer that’s pretty adorable, too).
Holly’s Favorite No-Knead Bread
Adapted from Jim Lahey, Sullivan Street Bakery
Time: About 1½ hours plus 14 to 20 hours’ rising
3 cups all-purpose or bread flour, more for dusting
¼ teaspoon instant yeast
1¼ teaspoons salt
Cornmeal or wheat bran as needed.
1. In a large bowl combine flour, yeast and salt. Add 1 5/8 cups water, and stir until blended; dough will be shaggy and sticky. Cover bowl with plastic wrap. Let dough rest at least 12 hours, preferably about 18, at warm room temperature, about 70 degrees.
2. Dough is ready when its surface is dotted with bubbles. Lightly flour a work surface and place dough on it; sprinkle it with a little more flour and fold it over on itself once or twice. Cover loosely with plastic wrap and let rest about 15 minutes.
3. Using just enough flour to keep dough from sticking to work surface or to your fingers, gently and quickly shape dough into a ball. Generously coat a cotton towel (not terry cloth) with flour, wheat bran or cornmeal; put dough seam side down on towel and dust with more flour, bran or cornmeal. Cover with another cotton towel and let rise for about 2 hours. When it is ready, dough will be more than double in size and will not readily spring back when poked with a finger.
4. At least a half-hour before dough is ready, heat oven to 450 degrees. Put a 6- to 8-quart heavy covered pot (cast iron, enamel, Pyrex or ceramic) in oven as it heats. When dough is ready, carefully remove pot from oven. Slide your hand under towel and turn dough over into pot, seam side up; it may look like a mess, but that is O.K. Shake pan once or twice if dough is unevenly distributed; it will straighten out as it bakes. Cover with lid and bake 30 minutes, then remove lid and bake another 15 to 30 minutes, until loaf is beautifully browned. Cool on a rack.
Yield: One 1½-pound loaf, even cuter in Kim Cameron’s Crochet Bread Warmer