Posted in Recipes

Baking Bread

Today I didn’t go to work!  No, I’m not playing hooky!  I awoke to 1/2 an inch of ice on my porch, the car, the trees…and last but not least, the roads. 

Look at all that ice!
Look at all that ice!
Ice, ice everywhere!
Ice, ice everywhere!

So I decided that baking bread would be the perfect passtime today.  About a year ago I bought “Artisan Bread in Five Minutes a Day” by Jeff Hertzberg & Zoe Francois.  I had heard about this method and was really anxious to try it.  Well, I am pleased to report that, yes, indeed, you can make fantastic bread with very little effort!

I am hooked on this great bread – it is so delicious; nice soft, but with bite inside and crispy, chewy crust on the outside.  

Here are the basic steps!  

  1. Mix the dough – no need for kneading… it isn’t necessary!  This step is complete when the flour is mixed in uniformly with no dry patches.  It is made of only 4 ingredients; flour, yeast, salt & water.  It is a fairly wet dough.
  2. Put it into a container with a lid that fits well, but isn’t air tight.  You allow this mixture to rise at room temperature for anywhere between 2 to 5 hours, depending on the temperature of your kitchen.  Or just refrigerate overnight…how simple is that!!!

The next day you bake:

  1. Get the dough from the fridge & cut off a ‘grapefruit’ sized piece and don’t knead, just gently shape into a smooth loaf.  Place on a pizza peel that has been generously sprinkled with cornmeal.  Let this rise on the peel for approximately 40 minutes.
  2. 20 minutes before baking, preheat your oven to 450F with a baking stone on the middle rack.  You also need to place an empty shallow baking tray on the rack beneath…you will be adding hot water to this hot pan when you put the loaf into the oven.
  3. Just before baking, dust your loaf with flour, then slash the top with 1/4 inch cuts.
  4. When the over is ready, place your loaf on the peel.  Add approximately 1 cup of hot water in the empty tray (be very careful of the steam) and quickly close the oven door, trapping the steam inside.
  5. Bake for 30 minutes and place on a rack to cool completely
  6. You store the remaining dough for up to 14 days.  You can make a fresh, small loaf whenever you want!

Take a look at mine:

Prepared peel with cornmeal
Prepared peel with cornmeal
Loaf rising before baking
Loaf rising before baking
Slashed loaf, ready for the oven
Slashed loaf, ready for the oven
Baking goodness, wish you could smell this :)
Baking goodness, wish you could smell this 🙂
Fresh out of the oven
Fresh out of the oven
Ready to eat
Ready to eat

Did you have bad weather today?  Did you stay home?  What did you do to pass the time?  I’d love to hear…and go get that book – the bread is AWESOME!

til next time, Connie 🙂

Author:

I am living my dream life in the country! I love photography, travelling, cooking, baking and I even try my hand at quilting.

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