The Kid and I have a weekend ritual where we hang out for a bit at the local Barnes & Noble. We drink coffee, relax, chit chat, and of course browse the store. It’s a good day when I can manage to make it out of the store without buying a cookbook. Yes, I’m that bad. I’ve managed to cut down to really only buying if I’ve looked at it a few times and I have a coupon for it. Those are the rules. Follow them. 😉
The other day I
unfortunately squealed with delight when I found a book called Artisan Bread in Five Minutes a Day. You know, that bread that you get in Italian restaurants and dip in olive oil. Or the loaves that waft bread scented goodness at you when you walk in the grocery store during peak baking hours. Yes, that same bread… but 5 minutes?! Right, whatever. I mocked it but looked anyway. They have a ton of good recipes, but the last thing I need are tasty bread morsels laying around begging me to eat them.
I looked over one of their basic bread recipes but freaked when I saw that it made THREE loaves! Some of you may have the willpower to slowly eat three loaves but I personally do not. I’m just going to admit that up front. I’m not tempting fate by trying either. I looked over the ingredients and they were simple enough so I decided to try my hand at the recipe by making a single loaf to test the waters.
It seriously could not have been easier to make great tasting bread. All in all it took about 10 minutes of total work time. I’m not counting the agonizing period while waiting for the dough to rise. That part along with waiting for it to come out of the oven while smelling it was an eternity. I bet if you give this a try, you may want to bake a loaf a day like I now do. I got more yeast at the store today while I was out so I’m ready.
Homemade Artisan Bread
- 2 cups + 2 Tbsp all purpose flour
- 1/2 Tbsp active dry yeast (not the quick rise kind)
- 1 tsp salt
- 1 cup lukewarm water
Mix the dry ingredients in an 8 cup glass or plastic bowl with a lid. I have a Pampered Chef measuring cup that meets this description so I just mixed the ingredients right in that. Stir in the lukewarm water until mixed. The dough will be a sticky mess (kinda sticky like cookie dough but in a big clump) but don’t panic. Place the lid on top. You don’t want the lid to be air tight because yeast needs to breathe. If your lid snaps tight, just place it on top without snapping it down. You can also use saran wrap but leave an air hole on one side.
Place the container in a warm area for about 2 hours to rise. I was drying clothes so I stuck it in the warm laundry room. After 2 hours, it will have risen a bit and look kind of bubbly on the surface. Get a piece of tin foil that’s about the size of a cookie sheet and dust with flour. Flour your hands well too. With your hands, pull the dough out of the bowl and shape into a ball. You aren’t kneading the dough. Just kinda pull it out and tuck the edges under to make a ball/football shape. It doesn’t have to be smooth either. Don’t make too much effort. Just tuck and plop. (See picture at right.)
Place the ball on the tin foil and let it sit for about 40 minutes to rest. While the dough is resting, you have just a bit of prep to do. Put a cookie sheet on the rack in the middle of your oven. Get a cake pan and fill it with water and put it on the bottom rack in the oven. The steam from the water will make the crusty outside of the bread. Preheat your oven with the pan of water and cookie sheet in it to 450 degrees. After the dough has rested 40 minutes, use a serrated knife to make about 4 slashes 1/4 inch deep in the top of the loaf. Slide the tin foil with the dough on it right onto the cookie sheet in the oven.
Make sure there’s still water in your pan. If it’s low, add more water. Bake for 30 – 35 minutes until golden brown and it sounds hollow when you knock on it. Take it out and let it cool. One loaf makes approximately 12 servings at 71 calories each.
My loaf turned out perfect the very first time so it can’t be rocket science. I had a slice with butter, and plan to try it in paninis and french toast for The Kid. It smells delicious too! Next time I think I might try a bit of garlic salt and rosemary to make a flavored bread. The plain variety is a bit more versatile so I wanted to start with that. I can’t believe how easy it was. No kneading, no punching, no real effort. Voila, fresh bread!
I admit that I had full intentions of taking a picture of the complete loaf, but I obviously was overcome with emotion once it came out of the oven and sliced in before said picture was taken. Next time I’ll try to do better and have camera in one hand and the oven door in the other. My goal now is to follow the rules with this cookbook. I have no coupon right now, so I cannot buy!
Have you ever made your own bread?