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November 23, 2014. Wonderful bread. The gift that makes you wonder why modern humans stopped making their own bread and started buying junk like Wonder Bread.

I was truly amazed and in wonder the first time I baked a loaf of this spectacularly great bread. Because it was so good – and because there was nothing to it. No kneading. No nothing. You stir together some flour and water. You let it rise a really long time: 18 hours. You scoop it out of the bowl and let it rise two more. You put it in the oven. Your home smells like a bakery. You take it out. You wonder why you never did this before.

And you vow to do it again. At least once a week for the rest of your life. The minimal recipe comes from My Bread: The Revolutionary No-Work, No-Knead Method, by Jim Lahey. The book itself is a small wonder: hundreds of great bread and pizza recipes. No kneading. Ever.

Wrap it up with the baking tools and you’ve got a very cool kitchen survival kit. The gift that keeps on rising. Perfect for anyone who never bakes but still has a sense of wonder. Or for someone who needs their sense of wonder restored. And for anyone who loves great bread.

If I didn’t already have it, I’d ask Santa for it. If you’re still wondering if this is too good to be true, Press Play and see for yourself.

The whole Better Cheaper Slower Gift Guide

The Book
My Bread: The Revolutionary No-Work, No-Knead Method, by Jim Lahey

The Tools
To make your own Sullivan Street Bakery-quality bread, you’ll need a Dutch oven so you can, in effect, bake the bread in an oven within your oven. I found this one for $35.

To get truly great results, Lahey recommends that you weigh the ingredients instead of eyeballing levels in a measuring cup. So I found a Better Cheaper compact and, really, very cool little digital scale for $25. I’ve gotten amazing bread every time.

Bowl Scraper
Pastry Scraper & Cutter
Measuring Cup & Spoon Set
Digital Measuring Cup & Scale combined. Honest. For the cook with everything.
Large (1-qt) Measuring Cup
Oven Thermometer
4-qt Pyrex Mixing Bowl

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