Monday, April 26, 2010

Artisan Bread in 5 Minutes a Day

I'm clearly on a bread-baking kick.  I decided to try this bread in 5 minutes a day that everyone is talking about.  I have to say first that the website is great - lots of videos and question and answer sessions.  And this seems like one of the most forgiveable breads.  To start with, my dough was definitely not wet enough.  I don't know if I packed my flour in too much, or if I lost count of how much I added, but it was definitely too dry.  I wasn't able to make the slashes in the top that it called for.  And I don't have a cast-iron pan or a pizza stone.  But it made such great tasting (and SIMPLE TO MAKE) artisan bread.  That probably cost pennies to make.  Now if this doesn't make you want to try it out, I don't know what to tell you!

Recipe: Artisan Bread in 5 Minutes a Day
3 cups lukewarm water
1 1/2 tbsp yeast
1 1/2 tbsp salt (I only used 1 tbsp)
6 1/2 cups all-purpose flour

In a 5-6 quart plastic container, dump in the water and add the yeast and salt.  Dump in the flour all at once and stir with a long handled wooden spoon.  Stir it in until all of the flour is incorporated.  It should be a very wet dough.  Put the lid on the container, but do not snap it closed.
Allow the dough to sit at room temperature for about 2 hours to rise.
After you let it rise, stick it in the fridge.  The dough is much easier to handle when it is cold.  You can refrigerate it for up to 2 weeks.
When you want to bake some bread:
Dust the surface of the dough with some flour, just enough to prevent it from sticking to your hands when you pull a piece out.  The dough should stretch a lot (check out the website) - if it doesn't, then it might be too dry and add a few tbsp of water (I had to do this).
Cut off a 1lb piece of dough and form it into a ball.
Put the ball on a sheet of parchment paper.
Let the dough rest for 40-90 minutes (the longer you wait, the more holes you'll have).
Preheat the oven to 450 F with a baking stone on the center rack and a broiler tray on the bottom rack.
Cut the loaf with 1/4 inch slashes using a serrated knife (I had some major issues with this).
Slide the loaf onto the preheated stone and pour hot water into the broiler tray.  Bake for 25-35 minutes or until a deep golden color.  If using parchment paper, remove it after 15-20 minutes.
Allow the bread to cool at room temperature before cutting.
If you have leftover bread, allow to sit, uncovered, cut side down.  (Warning - this only works for 1 day. After that, it will get stale.  They say that wrapping it will make the crust get soggy, that isn't true.)

Here are pictures from the second time I made it:
I think I underbaked it a little.  Last time it was a similar color, but cooked more through.  I'll have to cook each slice individually a bit.  I should have tried to achieve that dark golden color!

No comments: