October 22, 2013

Five minute bread?

     I got a copy of the new artisan bread book today and I'm giving it a go. I love baking bread and with just my husband and myself, I have more time to bake, but it seems I never do. The old-fashioned way requires regular kneading throughout the day. So far this method (day one) is already more efficient. I do own a bread machine. I had a sweetie that baked great bread and I used it constantly. My squirrels were so fat in the yard they waddled. The bread was acceptable but the machine died. I got another machine and hated it. The bread came out like a brick and the racket the machine made far overpowered the lovely scent of freshly baking bread. I gave it away and tried my daughter's machine but it is no better. I am willing and eager to try this method.
     I have not bought all the tubs and mixing devices that Amazon recommended with the book. I might down the road but not until the bread proves itself.
     I am using bread machine yeast. It is what I had on hand but it has recently expired. I don't think it will kill anyone, and the dough is rising, but I did toss the jar. The flour is King Arthur (love it). I did not use my big monster mixer, though I might in the future. I stirred the ingredients with a wooden spoon and my hands a bit (no kneading) and put it in a huge bowl for a couple of hours, then two more hours in the refrigerator.
     The book says the dough is best when it's been around a bit. The rest of the dough mix can wait for another day. This baking method has you keeping pre-made dough in the fridge. You grab a ball about the size of a grapefruit as you need it. No baking every day for bread that night.

     Next I took out some dough as the recipe said and made it into a nice ball. It is now rising on a good dusting of corn meal. This all obviously took more than five minutes. It did however not take long at all to mix up the dough and shape the loaf, maybe fifteen including cleaning up the flour. Once the dough is made I'm sure you can get bread into the oven really quickly (not including rising time).

After about a half-hour I dusted the loaf with flour and slashed it with the great bread knife I have.

     Next it went into a pre-heated oven. In the oven I also put a stainless bowl of water to keep the air moist on the rack below the bread. I am baking the bread on a heated cast-iron skillet. I used the cutting board like a pizza board and, because of the corn meal, the loaf slid off pretty easily onto the hot skillet in the oven.
Forty minutes later the bread is done!
     Of course I had to try it hot out of the oven. It's really very good! The crust is very crisp and crunchy, the bread inside very moist and tasty and with my good knife it sliced easily and cleanly. I will read more of the book to see if there are instructions on controlling the crust. I'd like to be able to make it with a softer crust, although this is great. The bread is not very 'yeasty' or sour, as expected. I will bake another loaf in a few days to see how much the mixture has changed flavor. I'm very pleased! Watch for a posting about future loaves and other types of bread using this same method.
Thanks for reading! 

Here is a link to the book (This is not a paid endorsement) :


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