February 4, 2011 § 7 Comments
In another one of my Lakeland Library book-hogging sessions, I possessed, for many weeks, a book called Artisan Bread in Five Minutes a Day (catchy title, huh?). I had read about it a long time ago on other blogs (like this one), and wanted to check it out, but wasn’t going to buy the book. Enter the trusty, if a little behind the times, library.
The premise is that you can make fresh bread every day, but don’t have to go through the mixing, rising, punching down, rising again, craziness that has to happen with traditional bread making. You mix the ingredients for multiple loaves, one time, in a big container, let it sit for a couple of hours, covered, and then put it in your refrigerator (unless you want to bake some at that point). Then you can just let it sit there, waiting for you to take it out, lop off a hunk of dough, and turn it into a fine loaf of bread. You can let it sit in there for almost two weeks if you want. It sounds and looks gross (see below), but it isn’t in the end, I promise.
There is an excellent post on the authors’ page here that gives the recipe and walks you through the basics of the process. Please don’t be intimidated by this! It’s easy, I promise. You can even watch them giving a demo here (I will say, I don’t think you HAVE to have a pizza peel like they recommend. I don’t have one so I just scoop up the bread off the counter with a well floured burger flipper and put it on to the heated baking stone. None of that will make sense if you haven’t clicked those links.)
This basic recipe is the one I’ve been doing so far, but the book has peasant loaves, pita bread, rye, whole wheat, etc., all using this same no-kneading, just-dump-it-in-there method. I highly recommend the book (I even gave it to my dad for Christmas), but see if your library has it (or read that post or watch the video above), and try it out to see if you like it or not.
As you can tell by my proselytizing, I love this stuff. Bread making is really satisfying to me b/c it’s luxurious and dirt cheap at the same time. This method adds ease to an already good thing. I’m hooked. One more thing I love about it: my kids cheer (I’m not lying) when they see it sitting on the counter, ready to go into the oven. They, seriously, jump up and down, clap their hands, and say “Yay! Bread!”. So, it’s not been hard for me to stick with something so pleasing that is at the same time not full of creepy ingredients.* I mean, they cheer for blue slurpees, but their mouths are stained for the rest of the day. That can’t be good, can it? This, I feel good about, AND they cheer. Their aren’t many of those.
p.s. If anyone has tried it or, tries it for the first time after this, I’d love to hear about it.
*Yeast is, actually, a little creepy. Anyone with me?