Friday, March 11, 2011

Artisan Bread in Five

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I've been meaning to write up a post about Artisan Bread in Five Minutes a Day for months.  But, really, using the methods in this book it is quicker to make fresh bread for supper than it is to find 10 minutes to type my thoughts.

Some friends of mine raved about this book for months before I tried it.  I assumed there was some catch and I know how to make traditional homemade bread.  If I wanted fresh bread couldn't I just make it? 

I ended up buying the book and some start-up supplies for my husband for his birthday.  I quickly caught on - of course I know how to make fresh bread - but with a busy schedule I never got around to doing it.

The concept is simple - mix up a big batch of dough and then use it to make 4 (or more if you multiply the recipe) loaves of bread over the next two weeks. On baking day just pull out the appropriate amount of dough, let it rise (40 minutes for the basic loaf) and bake (30 minutes for a small loaf.)

Ready to bake!
I love that I can use literally a minute here and a minute there to have fresh bread at supper and that beautiful fresh baked bread smell all afternoon.

We also appreciate the huge variety of dough recipes and baking techniques.  We started with just the basic white bread and a free form loaf.  Our favorite now is called European Peasant Bread and has some whole wheat and rye flours.  We've also tried the Broa (Portuguese corn bread) and while it is good, it wasn't "corny" enough to have a huge taste difference.

Pita Bread
We have tried several baking techniques, all with the same dough.  The kids gobble up homemade pita bread and we also like the stove-top cooked Naan.  Neither of these methods require rising time and they are very fast cooking - great for last minute baking!  The dough makes a great homemade pizza or cheesy bread and the book has a delicious sausage Stromboli recipe.  We tried a modification of the pork bun recipe in the book and found it a great way to use up leftover roast.

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The authors have a 2nd book filled with whole grain recipes, doughs with veggies added, and gluten free dough.  I'm planning to order it soon.  I did try the whole wheat main recipe from that book and we do like the flavor.  I attempted to make sandwich bread using that dough.  While it was the best homemade sandwich bread I've made, we didn't eat it fast enough.

There are a lot more varieties and recipes that I'd like to try from both books.  It's great to make a big batch of dough on Sunday and then just go to it during the week for a quick pita for lunch or for a guaranteed favorite with supper. 

I purchased our bins, dough scraper, and pizza peel from Amazon.  We don't use a baking stone.  You can learn a whole lot more about this on the authors' website: Artisan Bread in Five Minutes a Day.  (I wasn't compensated for this post, I just think this is an awesome idea for busy people who enjoy things that taste good!)

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