Wednesday, January 06, 2010

Constant Bread

Fresh baked bread is something we all love. That smell that taste fresh from the oven. Heaven on a cold day that is, mmmmm. It's something few of us have time to make in our busy day. Unless you have a bread machine making fresh bread can be a chore. I spent time making bread in the past but had abandoned it as it began to consume too much of my time. I used a bread machine for a while, which was great on saving time but then it died and I never made bread again. Lazy perhaps, not sure why I stopped all together but I did and I have been craving some good fresh bread. Maybe it has something to do with that new pannini press I found under the Christmas tree. Yet the kneading of bread dough still makes me hesitant. I began searching for a way to solve my dual desires for fresh bread without kneading. What I found was this site: Artisan Bread in 5 Minutes the answer to my fresh bread absence. The authors of the book Jeff and Zoe are saving the lost art of bread making.

I usually mix up the dough on Monday morning and I prefer to cut the recipe in half because I just don't have the space for a proofing box as large as the authors use. Maybe if I had another refrigerator. By cutting the recipe in half I have reduced its footprint in the fridge and I have less to make which suits our lifestyle. This dough makes excellent pizza which is wonderful to have on hand for a quick pizza night any day of the week. Even bread sticks and rolls can be made from it. Its versatility is what makes this bread an ideal addition to our family's food choices.

All it takes is 10 minutes to mix up the master recipe (see below). The dough is placed in your proofing box* (a 40-cup plastic container with a lid for the full recipe) and left on the counter for about two hours. After the resting you'll move your dough to the refrigerator where it stays for up to two weeks. The full recipe will make eight one-pound loaves. When you are ready to make bread open the box, grab a wad of dough, dust it with a little flour, spread cornmeal on a wooden peel, place dough on peel shape it and allow it to rise for 40-6o minutes. Before baking I slash the top and brush olive oil on top. Sometimes I'll sprinkle seeds or even some garlic powder on top. The options are endless and do add variety to the bread. I bake this bread on a baking stone (preheated) at 450 degrees Fahrenheit for 30 minutes which gives me an European bakery-style bread. Did you notice the no kneading? Oh yes, it's true none required. Try it. You will be so happy you did and think of how awesome you'll feel seeing how easy it was to make. I am thinking soup and bread are going to be a major staple to our house for the rest of the winter. With an easy bread recipe like this you can spend more time on an excellent stew or soup to make a simple and satisfying supper. Bonus is that at your next pot luck showing up with your own artisan bread will get major wows and will have cost very little in time and money. There's a gluten free version here.


The basic recipe:

3 cups lukewarm water

1 1/2 tablespoons granulated yeast

1 1/2 tablespoons kosher or other coarse salt

6 1/2 cups unbleached all-purpose flour


The Book Authors' tips for crustier bread:
1. Bake in closed cast iron pan
2. Place aluminum roasting pan over bread on baking stone
3. At the start of baking spray your oven with water from a food-grade sprayer and then every couple of minutes thereafter for a total of three times.

**Note**
I put my dough (half recipe) in a 24 cup Rubbermaid container. It's pretty flat which allows it to fit on my fridge's bottom shelf under the cheese drawer. The container has worked great for me. There is no way I'd have room for a 40 cup container, which is why this is a great recipe to split with a good friend.

4 comments :

Marla said...

Yum! This looks so... easy. I've always thought of bread making as a complicated process, but this looks manageable! We've been having lots of fresh baked bread at our house courtesy of the breadmaker. It's mt only option for bread since I am currently dairy and soy free. And oh my do I love bread!

Anonymous said...

Got the healthy version for x-mas- love it! Let me know if you want any of the whole wheat recipes.

Laura

wealhtheow said...

Let me know next time you're making this--I want to come over and mix a batch up with you--I'll even bring my own ingredients, just want someone who's done it to walk me through, since we have Bad Yeast Karma at my house.

Yvonne said...

I love the bread far too much too Marla. I hope this plan works for you and your busy Mama days.

Laura I'd love some of those wheat recipes, I'll shoot you a message.

Wealhtheow I'll gladly work on a batch with ya, we could even split it since it does make a ton.