Saturday, 11 July 2009

5 Minute Artisan Bread

I love bread. I especially love artisan breads and adore a fresh baked loaf. Unfortunately, D doesn't share my passionate love for bread and there is only so much bread I can eat so I don't often get to indulge.

I have often wanted to try baking my own bread, but yeast and I don't always get on very well and I am not confident in my kneading abilities so I've been a bit too scared to try it. I've tried an America's Test Kitchen almost no-knead recipe and that turned out quite well, but it was a very open crumb and I wished for something denser.

I came across this intriguing recipe while browsing through Recipezaar and couldn't put it out of my mind. I did some investigating and realised that so many bloggers have tried this and raved about it and the authors themselves have a fantastic website with lots of recipes to get you started.

I loved the story of how Jeff Hertzberg and Zoë François worked to make this recipe something everyone could do to have fabulous bread at home whenever they wanted, in just 5 minutes. Plus, they have adapted this fantastic technique to so many recipes and I want to try them all.

There may be hundreds of recipes to try, but the first recipe to start with is the Master Recipe. I dug out a big plastic container and set to.

It's so easy, simply mix your lukewarm water with the yeast and salt, then add the flour and mix until there are no dry floury bits. Let it rise at room temperature for two hours and then store it in the fridge for up to two weeks and you can just cut off a portion of the dough whenever you want to bake it.

My dough rose quite substantially and in fact grew out of its container, so next time I halved the recipe until I got a bigger bucket.

It was so easy, it is fantastic. Unfortunately, when reading all of the articles and they all said that you should make the master recipe as written first and master it before branching off and trying others, I didn't pay enough attention. I once made some fabulous semolina bread rolls which even used a starter and I remember them fondly, even though every time I've tried to make them since they have not turned out well at all. So I thought I'd be clever and go half flour, half semolina. Next time I try this, I will increase the salt as it ended up being quite bland. It also turned out very very dense and chewy. I now know it was most likely because I didn't cook it enough.

Even though this particular batch didn't turn out as good as I hoped, I have since become an Artisan Bread in Five convert. Stay tuned for further posts!!

Since I butchered the recipe so badly I'm not going to post what I did, but please go to Jeff and Zoe's wonderful website for fantastic recipes or buy the book, it's amazing!

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