Were you thinking of the heady aroma? Was your mouth salivating thinking of slicing into that fresh, warm loaf and sinking your teeth into that crusty, yeasty goodness?
Few things on the food chain evoke such primal yearning as fresh baked bread. However it is also true that many of us settle for store bought bread. Sliced to within millimeter tolerances, bagged bread is a cold, sterile form of what our taste-buds yearn for.
We tell ourselves that we don’t have time to bake or perhaps we don’t have the knowledge to bake bread. The skill and dexterity at forming artisan loaves have eluded us.
I felt that way for the longest time. Fresh bread took forever to make. Sometimes the hours and days to work with yeast, raise dough and just get it to look right just was too much to take on.
I learned a secret though!!!
Today I’m going to pass it on to you lucky reader. Beautiful bread that you can be proud of. Delicious soul satisfying bread that will have you pulling strangers off of the street to eat with you.
What if I told you that it would only take 5 minutes of your time each day to make?
5 MINUTES A DAY!!!!
No bread machine, no incantations to recite, just wonderful bread!
So what’s the secret you ask?
I bought the book and now I’m one of the converted.
Artisan Bread in Five Minutes a Day: The Discovery That Revolutionizes Home Baking is written by Jeff Hertzberg and Zoe Francois. Their particular genius is that you make a batch of dough that you don’t have to kneed, you don’t have to raise, and you can use this dough in small amounts over a period of two weeks.
I ordered the book and a baking stone and within 3 hours of getting them both I pulled my first loaf out of the oven.
The dough can also be used for pizza dough. The master recipe is the beginning but the whole book has many different recipes for sweet breads,flat breads, ethnic breads of all sorts. All of them made with this quick, and easy method.
You pull out a hunk of dough, shape it and put it on your pizza peel to rest for 45 minutes, slash the top, pop it in a pre-heated oven and 30 minutes later you have a fresh loaf of mouth watering bread.
I modified their recipe slightly so that I could incorporate whole wheat into my loaves but they are coming out beautifully.
Here is the recipe. Purchase the book it is so very worth it.
You don’t absolutely need this equipment but it will make everything turn out much better.
- Bucket 4-5 quarts
- Baking Stone
- Pizza Peel
- cooling rack
- corn meal
Ingredients (this is my modification of their master recipe in the book)
- 2 cups of whole wheat flour
- 4 ½ cups of all purpose flour
- 4 cups of lukewarm water
- 1 ½ tablespoons of active yeast
- 1 ½ tablespoons of sea salt
- In a bucket dump all of the ingredients
- Stir with a spoon until all the ingredients are wet
- Let your bucket sit covered but not airtight on your table for 2 hours
- When your 2 hours are up you can bake with the dough or put it in your refrigerator and use pieces of the dough over a 2 week period. Cover your dough but leave a little crack in the lid for gases to escape.
Baking your dough
- Put your baking stone in the oven
- On the rack under the baking stone have a metal pan so that you can dump water in at some point
- Preheat oven to 450 degrees Fahrenheit
- Pull your bucket of dough out and lightly sprinkle the surface with flour
- Pull a hunk of dough out with your hands and cut off a piece about the size of a grapefruit
- Sprinkle a little bit of flour on the outside of the dough and shape by lightly rolling the edges down toward the bottom
- On your bread peel liberally sprinkle some corn meal, or flour down and set your shaped ball down on the corn meal
- let your dough ball rest for 45 minutes
- After 45 minutes sprinkle a little bit of flour on top of the ball and slash the top with a serrated knife a few times
- With a quick jerking motion slide the dough ball onto your baking stone in your oven (if it sticks help it along with a spatula if needed)
- Quickly pour a cup of water in the pan in the rack underneath the baking stone
- Close the oven and bake your bread for 30-35 minutes at 450 degrees Fahrenheit or until the crust is golden brown
- When the time is up, open the oven, slide your bread peel underneath the bread and pull it out
Set the bread on a cooling rack to cool for 10-15 minutes minimum before cutting into it
Enjoy your beautiful loaf of bread
Hope that you try this method of bread baking. I have also made pizza with this dough and it turned out amazingly as well. With flat breads and pizza you don’t have to let the dough rest for 45 minutes. Just roll it out and bake.