Artisan Bread in Five Minutes a Day – Book Review

by Coco | September 23, 2009 9:34 am

There is nothing quite like the smell of bread baking.  Unless of course it’s cake or cookies baking.  But bread fills the house with that moreish, yeasty fragrance you just can’t get enough of.  Recently I purchased a fabulous book titled “Artisan Bread in Five Minutes a Day.”  You start with a basic dough from the master recipe that can be kept in the fridge until you want to bake something.   At which point you take some of the dough and add your flavours, shape, bake and eat!  This week I have really been hungry for Tandoori Chicken so decided to make that and what better to accompany this meal than some tasty garlic naan bread.

Master Recipe

3 cups of lukewarm water
1 1/2 tablespoons granulated yeast (1 1/2 packets)
1 1/2 tablespoons kosher or other coarse salt
6 1/2 cups unsifted, unbleached, all purpose white  flour, measured with the scook and sweep method.

Mixing and Storing Dough

1.   Warm the water slightly:  It should feel just a little warmer than body temperature, about 100 degrees F.  Warm water will rise the dough to the right point for storage in about 2 hours.  You can use cold tap water and get an identical final result;  then the first rising will take 3 or even 4 hours.  That won’t be too great a difference, as you will only be doing this once per stored batch.

2.  Add yeast and salt to the water in a 5 quart bowl or preferable, in a resealable, lidded (not airtight)  plastic food container or food grade bucket.  Don’t worry about getting it all to dissolve.

3.  Mix in the flour – kneading is unnecessary.  Add all of the flour at once, measuring it in with dry ingredient measuring cups, by gently scooping up the flour and leveling it off with a knife.  Mix this in with a wooden spoon, or high capacity food processor (14 cups or larger) or mixer fitted with a dough hook attachment.   If it get’s too dry you can reach into the dough with very wet hands and press the mix together but don’t knead.  You are finished when everything is uniformly moist.  This will yeild a dough that is wet  and loose which will probably conform to the shape of the container.

4.  Allow to rise.  cover with a lid but not airtight.  Do not use screw top jars as the gasses will not be able to escape and the jars could explode.  Allow the mix to rise at room temperature for approximately 2 hours.  The top may begin to collapse in on itself, this is ok.  Longer rising times up to 5 hours will not harm the result.  You can begin using any portion of the dough after this time to make your breads.

When you wish to bake some bread, DO NOT KNEAD.  Just shape your loaf in 30 to 60 seconds and you are ready to bake.  It is best baked on a pizza stone with some cornmeal sprinkled on it to prevent your loaf from sticking.

For my naan bread I just took a peach sized portion and rolled it flat with my rolling pin, shaped it into 8 inch ovals and fried it in a cast iron skillet that had some ghee (clarified fat)  in the bottom of it.  I covered the skillet and rotated the bread after about two minutes.  Watch for burning and adjust your temperature accordingly.  I cooked it for another 3 to four minutes on the second side and then buttered it with some roasted garlic butter we had made.

You can use this master recipe to make all manner of breads and I will be trying different types here again in the future.  If you enjoy homemade bread this is a must have book for your collection.  Bread making at home has never been this easy!

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