You’ve probably seen it, that cookbook that boasts a homemade loaf of artisan bread in just five minutes a day. If you are like me the first time you saw it you were skeptical. However, upon screening our library’s copy of the book and giving the whole thing a try, husbie and I were instantly hooked and soon purchased a copy of our own to add to our kitchen library.
We now refer to it regularly to make our own homemade bread.
In case you aren’t familiar with what I’m talking about: the authors developed a technique of having ready made dough in the fridge that can be pulled out and baked at a moment’s notice. Now the title might be a tad bit misleading: you won’t have a loaf of hot bread fresh from the oven in five minutes, but with a minimal amount of prep time for the dough (that doesn’t require kneading by they way), and with just a few minutes to prepare the loaf itself, you can, realistically speaking, have fresh bread every day with minimal effort.
What I really like about this method:
*”Bread Baking Day” does not drag into an all day thing. I like to use the standard recipe for the French “boule” that consists of just flour, yeast, salt, and water. It only takes me half an hour at the most to prepare the dough with little mess to clean up when I’m done.
*As I mentioned above, the recipe does not require kneading. I mix the dough with a wooden paddle and allow it to rise before storing it in a glass bowl in the fridge.
*I can usually have a loaf of fresh bread on the table within an hour. As long as I remember to always have a batch of dough in the fridge (ha), I can easily put together a loaf for breakfast, lunch, or dinner which makes for a great last minute menu option if I need one.
The one thing I didn’t like about this method:
*The recipe used white flour. My husband and I prefer spelt bread ever since we were introduced to it a few years ago. The high cost of it though was what led me to try baking my own in the first place. So shortly after we mastered the quick and easy artisan method, we decided to give it a try with spelt flour.
The results were acceptable. Granted, it doesn’t rise up as beautifully as a loaf used with white flour but if I use a little bit of Vital Wheat and Gluten Flour“>Vital Wheat Gluten to help it along, it will rise enough and I’m willing to overlook a less than perfect loaf of bread in order to provide us with something that we feel is a bit healthier.
As I mentioned a few weeks ago in this post, one of the challenges of moving out to the country was no longer having access to a natural foods store where I could buy spelt flour. After much deliberation, we decided to purchase our own grain mill and bucket of spelt berries.
This was the most recent “upgrade” to our little homestead in an effort to be more self-sufficient, but in just the small amount of time we’ve had it, I’ve really enjoyed it and it has been worth the expense. It is a relatively quiet machine and pretty easy to clean afterwards. I usually mill enough flour to make a batch of bread dough and enough for the freezer to use for other things such as these oatmeal cookies.
Whether or not you choose to go to all the trouble to mill your own wheat, I highly encourage taking the time to bake your own bread. Even if it is with conventional ingredients (such as white flour), it will still be prepared with minimal ingredients and you will have complete control of what goes into it and on your table.
3 c warm water; about 100 degrees
1 1/2 T granulated yeast
1 1/2 T kosher salt
6 1/2 c of spelt flour (or white, or wheat, or a combination of whatever you prefer)
6 1/2 T of Vital Wheat Gluten (use only if you are using the spelt flour; even then this is optional if you’d prefer not to)
To prepare the dough:
Add the yeast and salt to the water in a 5 quart bowl or plastic covered container. It is not necessary to dissolve.
Mix in the flour and Vital Wheat Gluten all at once. Stir with a wooden spoon, paddle, or your hands until the ingredients are well incorporated.
Loosely cover the bowl with the lid or plastic wrap and allow to rise at room temperature for two hours or until it begins to collapse (it will become flat on the top).
You can use the dough at this point but for best results refrigerate overnight. (I like to make my dough up the night before, I mix the dough while doing dinner dishes, let it rise, and then put it in the fridge before going to bed).
Prepare a pizza peel by liberally sprinkling with cornmeal.
Remove from the bowl of dough a “wad” of about 1#. You can measure if you like, but I always just eyeball it. 1# is about the size of a grapefruit. Gently stretch and shape the dough working it into a smooth round ball, but don’t spend a lot of time or stress out trying to get it perfect. This is an artisan, free form loaf.
Allow the loaf to rest and rise on the pizza peel for about 40 minutes.
Twenty minutes before baking, preheat the oven to 450 with a baking stone placed on the middle rack. On the rack underneath the stone place an empty broiler tray for holding water.
Dust the top of the loaf liberally with a bit of flour, then using a sharp serrated knife, make a series of slashes across the top.
Slide the loaf onto the preheated baking stone and pour 1 cup of hot water into the waiting broiler tray. This creates a steam bath that will give the bread a nice, hard crust.
Bake for about 30 minutes or until the crust is browned and firm to the touch.
Remaining dough will keep in the fridge for up to two weeks.
Recipe makes about 4, 1# loaves.
~Adapted from Artisan Bread in Five Minutes a Day
This recipe was posted as part of tomorrow’s Bread Bake Off with the Farm Chicks. Be sure to check out the blog for a series of great bread recipes from some very talented bakers.
Paula’s Bread ~ This is where we purchased our grain mill, as well as our dehydrator. Paula isn’t an affiliate, she’s just been a very long time friend of ours and offers a great selection of kitchen supplies.
Find this post and others like it linked to: Homestead Barn Hop,Mix it up Monday, Homemade Mondays,On the Menu Monday, Backyard Farming Connection Hop, Cowgirl Up Wildcrafting Wednesday, Frugal Days Sustainable Ways, The Homeacre Hop,Tutorials Tips and Tidbits, Simple Lives Thursday, Foodie Friday, Full Plate Thursday, Farm Girl Blog Fest