There has been a lot of talk lately surrounding "Artisan Bread in 5 Minutes a Day", a book that came into the library for me last week! I couldn't wait to give it a try... since I'm a sucker for a good crusty bread :)
In case you haven't heard... the two Minnesotan authors wanted to bring back "real" bread baking into the standard American kitchen. If you've picked up a bread book recently, you've likely noticed that making a good bread takes hours, if not days. Who has time for that?!
The idea here is simple -- make up a batch of bread. Let it rise for a few hours. Then, refrigerate it for up to 14 days and use as you need. Fresh bread, anytime of the day, in just minutes. There is a little rise time factored in... but you can literally shape your loaf in less than 5 minutes, let is rise and bake while you're doing other things, and have a fantastic loaf of fresh bread.
This is prefect for Frog Prince and I since we can just take off a small hunk and make a loaf for dinner. No more stale bread for us :)
While I haven't tried it yet -- they have a fresh sandwich bread too... :) I think I'm in love.
There's just something about a delicious, yeasty bread, that makes me go weak in the knees.
We made one of the peasant-breads to start... yummy!
Peasant Bread - Adapted from Artisan Bread in 5 Minutes a Day
1 1/2 C warm water
3/4 T yeast
1/2 T salt
1/2 C whole wheat flour
2 3/4 C white flour
In a large lidded container (~4 liters for this batch), pour 1 1/2 C warm water (about 100 degrees F).
Add in the yeast and salt and allow the yeast to dissolve (it's okay if not all of it dissolves).
Then, scoop in and level off your flour with the flat side of a knife.
It's important that you don't compact the flour during this process.
Next, add the flour to the water mixture and stir with a wooden spoon or spatula to combine until all the flour is moist.
The dough will be rather moist, and there is no need to knead! If you do need to use your hands to mix in the last of the flour, make sure your hand is wet... otherwise you'll be one sticky goobery mess.
Close the lid, although don't make it airtight ... the gasses building up wouldn't be so excellent if that was the case.
Let the dough rest in your kitchen for 2-4 hours, depending on the temperature of your kitchen. The dough is ready to be refrigerated when it has risen and is either (1) falling back in on itself, or (2) flat at the top (i.e., no dome shape to the rising dough).
Then, move the dough into the fridge.
Yep, it's as easy as that.
When you're ready to bake (you need about 1 hour before you're ready to eat)....
1) Dump a tiny bit of flour into the container with your dough and cut off a piece for your bread. The authors say a piece about the size of a grape fruit will make ~1 lb. loaf.
2) Then, resist the need to knead! Just simply shape the dough into a circle in some additional flour or cornmeal, and place it on a cookie sheet, or wood cutting board to rise for about 30 minutes.
3) After the dough has been rising for about 15 minutes, preheat your oven to 450. If you have a baking stone, preheat your oven with the baking stone in it.
4) After about 30ish minutes, cut an "x" in the top of the dough, if you wish.
5) Fill a pan with 1 C hot water and place it under the wrack where you'll place the bread in the oven.
6) Then, slide the dough into the oven either on the cookie sheet or onto the preheated baking stone, and quickly shut the oven door. The steam from the water is essential to making a crispy crust.
7) Bake at 450 for ~30 minutes, depending on the size of the bread loaf. Bread will be browned and hard when ready.
8) Allow the bread to cool before eating.
This recipe makes ~2 1 lb. loaves. It is half of the original recipe -- which makes 4 1 lb. loaves. To get 4 loaves worth of bread, double the recipe here.
This recipe is linked to Mouthwatering Mondays.