A new book has transformed the art of making bread, so that you can literally make a beautiful, delicious loaf in five minutes a day — no kneading required, and no starter to feed. The book, Artisan Bread in Five Minutes a Day, includes a recipe for a “batch” that makes up to five loaves that you store in your refrigerator until you’re ready to bake. Just pull off what you need for the day, and bake; the rest stays in the fridge.
- 3 cups warm water
- 1.5 tablespoons yeast (I add two teaspoons, and it works fine.)
- 1.5 tablespoons salt. (I add less and it’s perfect.)
- 6.5 cups flour. (I do a mixture of whole wheat and white flour.)
Once you have taught your children this simple art, they will never be a starved college student. With a few dollars, pooled together from their buddies, they can get themselves some yeast, flour and cheese, and create a terrific meal for themselves and their friends. Cheaper than pizza, this method is so simple, you could make this in a college apartment, no special tools required.
Some things I’ve learned:
- Use two containers when doubling. I doubled the first batch, correctly believing I would be making lots of bread. This is what happened. (Check out those air holes!! That is going to be some GOOD bread!)
- The yeast and salt. The book calls for 1.5 tablespoons of yeast and salt each. The bread is a little too salty and almost reeks of yeast. You can reduce this to 1.5 teaspoons for both ingredients, and make better tasting bread, without loosing “rise.”
- You’ll be making more loaves than you thought. My first loaf came out of the oven, and I headed for my camera to take the picture – it was such a beautiful specimen. I came back to the kitchen to find this one lone crumb.
- Hands-Off Until It’s Cooled. Fresh bread out of the oven is tempting. Your kids, and spouse, will give it maybe five minutes at most to cool, at most. Just cool enough to grab it and pull it apart just to watch the steam come out of those hollow holes inside. Teach them to wait. Opening the bread while it’s too warm will collapse the bread. The texture of the bread will improve dramatically if your family can learn to be patient.
- While most bakers insist on a scale, this method demands that you scoop and level the flour. The recipes are “built” into this method.
- Train them. Truly, this bread-baking process is simple enough for an 8-year-old to easily master. So, go ahead, teach them how to pull out the dough for the day, shape it, and let it rest for the twenty minutes. You can step in to help when it’s time to build the steam in the 450-degree oven.
I waited for the book to show up at the library, got tired of waiting and ran to Barnes and Noble. Of course, the book was sold out, so I had to wait for the special order. The day it arrived, I fought ice and snow to get the book, toddler in tow, whining for the Batman Comic books, and we enjoyed our first freshly baked baguette that night.