My reading list for 2012 included the book, Artisan Bread in Five Minutes a Day. I have read many great reviews about this book and have wanted to check it out for a couple of years now. I received the book as a gift for Christmas, read it cover to cover in a matter of days and decided it was time to conquer my fear of bread baking (more a fear of screwing up the bread, not the actual baking part)!
With the help of my wonderful husband we recently baked our first loaf of real bread! Our home took on the wonderful smell of a bakery. The bread had a nice, crisp crust with a moist and tender crumb. We took it out of the oven, let it cool a bit and then enjoyed it with real, Amish butter. Perfectly delicious!
The recipe we used was called Light Whole Wheat Bread. Here is how we made it:
- 3 cups lukewarm water
- 1 1/2 tablespoons granulated yeast (or 2 packets)
- 1 1/2 tablespoons Kosher salt
- 1 cup whole wheat flour
- 5 1/2 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
- Some whole wheat flour for the pizza peel
Making the Dough
- First you will need to make the dough. Mix the yeast and salt in the water in a large 5-quart bowl (we used the bowl from our stand mixer).
- Add in the flour, without kneading, and mix into a dough. You can use a spoon, food processor with a dough attachment or a heavy-duty stand mixer with a dough hook. (I love our KitchenAid stand mixer!)
- Cover the dough (we just used a dishtowel) and allow to rest at room temperature until the dough rises and collapses, about two hours.
- At this point you can either bake the dough or refrigerate it for later use. Refrigerate in a covered container for up to 14 days.
Baking the Bread
- Dust the surface of your dough with flour and cut off a grapefruit-size piece. Dust the surface of this piece with a little more flour and quickly shape into a ball by stretching the surface of the dough around to the bottom, turning as you go. Allow to rest and rise on a flour dusted pizza peel for about 40 minutes.
- Preheat your oven to 450º for 20 minutes with a baking stone placed on the middle rack. Place an empty broiler tray on another shelf where it won’t interfere, we placed ours on the shelf below.
- Sprinkle a little more flour on the surface of the dough and, using a serrated knife, cut slashes into the top.
- Using your pizza peel, slide the dough directly on the now hot baking stone. Pour one cup of water into the broiler tray and close the oven door. Bake for about 35 minutes or until the crust is a nice brown color and firm. Adjust your baking time for larger or smaller loaves.
- Allow to cool and enjoy!!
This recipe makes enough dough for four 1-pound loaves. The rest of your dough can be used for up to 2 weeks to bake additional loaves, Indian naan or even pizza! Just store it in the refrigerator, lightly covered, until you are ready to bake. You can easily double or halve the recipe according to your needs! I am really excited about this book, it has so many recipes to try!
Have you ever tried to bake bread? How did it turn out? Share your experience in the comments!