September 30, 2010

Simple Lives Thursday.... Artisan Bread

I've discovered an awesome site I'd like to share with you guys....    On Thursdays the website Sustainable Eats and three others, together host "Simple Lives Thursday"!! It is a wonderful way to share how we each try to make our lives simpler!! By sharing our ideas, we may find a few ideas to adopt into our own lifestyles!! It seems like a win-win situation to me! I've had fun browsing over the past few weeks of hosted SLT ideas.... there are some VERY CLEVER people out there!!

One of the things I like to do especially as the weather is turning cooler here in New England, it to make my own bread. I eventually will share my mom's awesome bread recipe, but this recipe & idea I got out of the book "Artisan Bread in 5 Minutes A Day".  I have shared this recipe here before but since the weather is cooling, it is time to share it again! It sure makes having hot, home-baked bread EASY!

Into a large container (with a lid that is NOT tight fitting) put 3 cups lukewarm water, 1 1/2 TBsp. yeast, 1 1/2 TBsp. coarse salt and 6 1/2 cups white flour. Using a wooden spoon, mix until there are no dry patches of dough but don't knead or over mix it! This entire process took all of maybe 10-15 minutes! This will make enough dough for 4 one pound loaves of bread. Let it sit on the counter for a couple of hours. It will rise and then collapse.... now it is ready for the refrigerator! This will keep for 14 days according to the author... I like to use it within a week or so. (The recipe may be doubled and stored for use within the same time frame.)

Here is why the book gets the name "5 Minutes A Day"... when you are ready to use it, sprinkle a little flour on top of the dough. Grab a grapefruit size chunk of dough (approx. 1 lb) and cut it off with a knife. Quickly form a ball with a little bit more flour sprinkled on it, elongate the ball and set it down on the floured pizza peel. In my case, I used a baking sheet with no lip. I thought I needed to get a pizza peel, but after using the baking sheet several times now, (I just put enough flour on the baking sheet so the raised dough will slip easily enough onto my baking stone in the oven) I'll stick with my method and save money! :) 

You will need to allow the dough rest for about 90 minutes if the dough has been refrigerated, 40 minutes if fresh. At this point the actual physical work time is probably 5 minutes. (preparing the peel, cutting off the dough & shaping it, putting the baking stone (on the middle rack) in the oven sprinkled with whole wheat flour (I've used corn meal with good results), a pan on the shelf below, and readying a cup of hot water for the last minute to pour into the lower pan.)
About 20 minutes before bake time, preheated the oven to 450* (with the baking stone lightly covered with corn meal & the broiler pan inside heating up too.) Just before putting it in the oven, I sprinkle just a bit more flour on top and make 3 slices across the top with a serrated knife. Then, as soon as I slide the dough onto the stone, I need to put about a cup of hot water in the broiler pan and shut the door! STEAM is one of the keys to successful artisan bread! Bake for 25-30 minutes.

Pretty cool huh!?! Give it a try and let me know how yours turns out!

PS..... after reading one of the comments/questions... I went back to my book to double check! YES, YOU CAN use a non-stick loaf pan for baking! I have not used this recipe that way, but if I did... I'd be sure to grease the pan with shortening and consider flouring the sides before rising the bread, and I'd use the broiler pan on the shelf underneath too! :) Oh ya, you can use wheat flour, part white & wheat flour... it is fun to experiment!


Anonymous said...

I'm guessing since it's "bread in 5 minutes" you don't have to do a secondary rise before you put the bread into the oven?

Do you just freeform your loaf? Could you use a bread pan?

I'm thinking I'm going to give this a whirl. It'd be nice to have four loaves of dough just waiting to be baked.

Lynda said...

I've been coveting that book for a long while now - thank you for sharing this! I'm going to give it a try!

Melanie said...

Thanks for the questions/comments! I adjusted my post to try to answer you. :) I haven't used a loaf pan for this recipe, but after double checking with book again... it says yes! ENJOY your bread!

sustainable eats said...

Thanks for sharing this - I'm trying to branch more into sourdough this year although my family is firmly rooted in sandwich bread. I can't wait to try it! And thanks for linking up to Simple Lives Thursday.

melissa said...

YES! I am a huge ABi5 evangelist. I haven't bought bread since I got this book, what, 3 years ago? Something like that. I have Healthy Bread... as well. SO delicious and I recommend this highly to anyone who eats bread at all. It's so incredibly easy and tasty.