My Love Affair with Bread


I love bread. I often judge a restaurant on how good the bread is. My husband knows that often times I will eat several pieces of bread and forget about the rest of my meal. I don't know why but to me there is nothing better than warm bread and butter.

For some time I have been reading on various blogs about Artisan Bread in 5 Minutes a day. I wanted to try it and checked the book out at the library twice. I am not sure why but something was always holding me back. I think I was just scared because it was a much different process than I am used to with bread.

Then one Sunday evening for no apparent reason I just jumped in and did it. I followed the books Master Recipe and was delighted with how easy it was. The long directions made me fear it would be hard but there was nothing hard about it at all. I set the dough on the counter to rise like the book talks about and looked at it every so often with pride as it grew.

The next day I made my first loaf. All we could say was WOW. It was amazing. A nice crusty exterior with a soft airy center. We ended up eating the whole loaf between the two of us (mental note do not make this daily if I want to wear any of my summer clothes).

If you have been holding back on trying this style of bread making don't wait any longer! It is not hard and the little work you put into it gives great results. I ended up liking it so much I ordered the book so I wouldn't have to end my bread making when the library wanted their copy back.

The Master Recipe from Artisan Bread in 5 Minutes a Day

3 Cups Lukewarm Water
1 1/2 Tablespoons Granulated Yeast
1 1/2 Tablespoons Kosher Salt
6 1/2 Cups Unsifted, Unbleached, All-Purpose Flour

Warm the water slightly, about 100 degrees. Add yeast and salt to the water in the bowl of your mixer. Mix in the flour all at once with the dough hook of your mixer. You're finished when everything is uniformly moist, without dry patches. Put the dough in a 5 quart bowl with a lid (not airtight). Allow mixture to rise at room temperature for 2 hours. After the rising put the container with the dough in the fridge to use as you like for the next 14 days.

On Baking Day
Pull a grapefruit sized portion out of the 5 quart container. Gently stretch the dough around to the bottom to create a ball. Let the loaf rise on a pizza peel generously (yes generously-I didn't use enough the first time and I almost couldn't get it to come off) coated with cornmeal for 40 minutes.

Twenty minutes before baking preheat the oven to 450 degrees with a baking stone placed on the lowest rack. Place an empty broiler tray for holing water on any other shelf that won't interfere with the rising bread.

When bread is done rising dust the top with flour and slash using a knife across the top. After 20 minutes of preheat you are ready to bake even if your oven isn't up to temperature. Slide dough off pizza peel onto baking stone. Pour 1 cup of hot tap water into the broiler tray and close the oven to trap steam.

Bake for 30 minutes. Try to wait for it to cool to eat :)

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