Thursday, February 05, 2009

Baking Bread

I know I said I was going to make bread in the summer, but my fridge was stuffed full of garden veggies and a giant box of peaches on such a regular basis that there just wasn't room for a bucket o' dough.

Now though...I have no giant box of peaches and (more importantly) it's cool or cold out (it's currently 67 degrees) and I have finally turned in the gift card I was given on my birthday last year (Thanks Heather!) for a copy of the book I had mentioned previously (Artisan Bread in Five Minutes a Day). I just threw together the dough and it is now slowly rising on the counter. I don't know what our elevation will do to the basic recipe, but I'll see how the first batch goes and then fiddle with it.

I also noticed that my baking stone is slightly too large for the middle of my oven because of the convection fan, so Eric is off to get a 2.25" slice taken off the stone at the hardware store.

What brought this on so suddenly? Well, it's a nice day, the twins are were napping and we spend an awful lot of money on bread products. If I can find a way to have homemade bread, English muffins and bagels on a regular basis that is easy for me to do, we'll save a lot of cash. Also, no more plastic bags. Every loaf comes in a bag, plus a pair of loaves together come in a single outer bag, making 3 plastic bags for 2 loaves of bread or dozen bagels or 4 pack of English muffins. That's crazy talk!

I'll let you know how the bulk bread making experiment goes!

The dough rose to fill the 5 quart container 1.5 hours into the 2 hour rise time. Eek!

Close up dough action.

Slashed and ready to pitch into the oven.

Singing and cooling, but not yet ready to eat. Must...wait!

I'll let you know how it tastes tomorrow.

Edited to add: Yummy. Very yummy. I may need to get a larger container to double the batch!

10 comments:

Jennifer H said...

In 5 minutes of hands-on time, really? I could maybe handle that. Can't wait to hear how it turns out.

And honestly, I've never heard of someone making English muffins at home, but now that sounds so yummy. Less money and no plastic bags - a huge bonus.

Solanaceae said...

Did you use the reduced yeast version or the full yeast version? Normally I'd asssume you used the full yeast version but with the altitude it made wonder. I've made "no knead" bread twice now and really like it. Will probably mix up a batch of lower yeast 14 day dough this weekend... oh and I need to go buy the book too. :)

Woman with a Hatchet said...

Jennifer: Pretty close to 5 minutes, actually. They don't count rising or baking time. So there's the ingredients mixing, the gluten cloaking and pitching it in the oven. No knead is VERY nice!

As for the English muffins, I've made them before with a separate recipe, but they did seem like a fair amount of work. But now...if I already have dough in the fridge? Cool! All I need are forms for the muffins and I'm good to go! They even talked about the EM recipe on their website.

Sol: I didn't reduce the yeast. What would you suggest? It calls for 1.5 tbsp. Just 1 tbsp?

In the book, I noticed I can use the basic recipe for things like Naan, English muffins and sticky buns. I think I may be in love!

Oh and it tasted great!

Cynthia said...

I adore your blog and lurk here daily! I am a full convert to the Artisan Bread in 5 book and have made about 3/4 of the recipes in it. We never buy bread anymore. Yuck, who would want that stuff? I assume you have visited their website which is a real storehouse of information.http://www.artisanbreadinfive.com/
The authors are very, very quick to personally respond to questions posted on the site. As you progress in your experimentation you will find the dough is so forgiving and adaptable you can create a zillion variations on their already perfect recipes. I have reduced my yeast down to 1 tsp and just let the bucket sit on the counter "all day" for the first rise. It allows me to run out of the house or get busy with something else and just forget about it. I also make double size loaves (for better sandwich size slices) and just bake them 5 minutes longer. You are going to have such a blast with this book, trust me.

alessa said...

I did a batch as a down and dirty quick bread recipe to take to a party after I heard about it on The Splendid Table. It went over like gangbusters, though I had to take a lot back home because I made too much.

Yum, bread! Must make come! Maybe tomorrow....and maybe I should buy the book too.

alessa said...

Ooops, what a typo... "come" was supposed to be "SOME". Really, I promise!

Woman with a Hatchet said...

Hey Cynthia! Welcome lurky one.

One tsp, eh? Wow. I did, actually, pop over to their web site and poke around. Last year one of the author's left a note on my entry about it. They DO have some great info there. I have a second batch starting right NOW and reduced the yeast to 1 tbsp (yesterday's batch was very dense, but I like dense bread). I'll then throw it in the fridge after the 2 hours are up and bake some of it when I get back on Sunday. 'm looking forward to trying out more of their recipes and am REALLY excited about just being able to make bread easily.

It's not that I CAN'T make bread normally, it's just that it takes a whole lot more of a time investment than I have to spare on it. This morning, though, just pulling out a pile of dough and then baking it was easy-peasy. I may be completely sold. Once I see how this second batch turns out of the straight recipe, I'll probably start adding whole wheat in.

I'm looking forward to homemade bagels! Caitlin and Eric really liked the first loaf, too.

Alessa, I don't think you can take bread to a party and expect ANY of it to make it home again. Bread...mmmm!

Solanaceae said...

I used 1/4 teaspoon of yeast to 3 cups of flour for the no knead bread you cook in a covered pot. I'm willing to bet you could reduce it to 1/2 t for 6 the cups of flour called for as long as you let the doigh sit for at least 12 hours before using it. I don't remember if I saw it in the book or on their website about reducing the amount of yeast. Am interested to hear your review on using the "master dough" for things other than just a loaf. I use Alton Brown's recipe for cinnamon roll dough but it's really time consuming and you can't just whip them up on a whim.

alessa said...

You can take bread home if two other people brought a plethora of bread related dishes to the party as well.

And I agree, bread, yum...

I wonder how this would taste as fry-bread, like the villagers would make when I was a kid...

Hmm, I'm drooling and my husband isn't around to notice. (Yep, he's a freaky dentist who misses drool. He's been out of work for 2 months while negotiating with banks to buy a practice in this sucky economy. SIGH!)

Monica said...

That bread looks wonderful.

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