Insanely Easy Artisan Bread




You’ve probably heard of the Artisan Bread in 5 Minutes a Day method of baking bread. If not, basically you mix up a batch of bread dough, let it rise at room temp, then store it in the fridge till you’re ready to bake. It’s pretty ingenious. But, I think it’s kind of a misnomer to say it’s in 5 minutes a day–I mean, that’s how much time you have to actively do stuff, but you still have to let it rise, rest and bake, you know?


Anyway, I wanted to give it a try. I have very low expectations. You know how much I love sandwich bread. This bread turned out way better than I’d thought, and I got to go to the Seattle Restaurant Store which is unequivocally the greatest place in Seattle. I didn’t use a dough whisk because there is NOWHERE to buy one in Seattle, and it was fine. I would however suggest finding yourself a clean bucket, with a lid, that fits in your fridge. I picked up one like this —> 
from the restaurant store for about $5. Use a nail and a hammer and make a couple REALLY small (like, the diameter of a picture hanging nail) holes in the lid.

I also made a half recipe because I wasn’t sure how it would turn out. I used the dough right after the first rise, without refrigerating it at all. I’ll update when I use the rest of the dough that’s still in the fridge. Feel free to double the recipe if you want, or take a look at the original recipe here.

I’m inclined to say that the beauty of this recipe is that it’s impossible to mess up, since the time you spend doing anything besides waiting is almost nonexistent. But, I would qualify that by saying that your bread probably won’t turn out very well if you a) didn’t let it rest for long enough before baking or b) cut into it before it was cooled. So, err on the side of resting and cooling for longer, and let me know how it goes! And use up your dough within a week and a half.

Insanely Easy Artisan Bread

Time commitment: 5 minutes to mix, 2 hours to rise, a couple minutes to form loaf, 40 minutes to an hour and a half to rest, 30 minutes to bake = about 4 hours minimum till you can eat your bread
Makes: two 1 lb. loaves
Ingredients

  • 1 1/2 cups water, warm but not hot
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons any kind of yeast (granules)
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 3 1/4 cups all-purpose flour

Directions

  1. Add water to bucket. Sprinkle yeast and salt, stir to combine. Stir in flour till combined. 
  2. Put lid on bucket, let rise at room temp for 2 hours. 
  3. After 2 hours, either refrigerate dough till you’re ready to use it or cut off a 1 pound hunk (weigh on a scale with parchment paper), form into a ball, slash a couple 1/4 inch deep cuts in the top of the loaf, and rest uncovered on the parchment for 40-90 minutes. 
  4. 20 minutes before you’re ready to bake, put a cast iron pan in the oven and preheat at 450 degrees. When your loaf is ready to bake, move into pan keeping loaf on parchment paper. Set timer for 20 minutes.
  5. When timer goes off, remove parchment paper and set timer for 10 minutes. When finished baking, remove to a cooling rack and allow to cool for at least 20 minutes before slicing and enjoying. Store on the cutting board, cut side down, uncovered on the counter. Seriously! I just learned this and it has changed my life. Finish eating all the bread within a day or two. (This will NOT be difficult.)
And here is a visual timeline: 
What your dough will look like after you stir it together.

    After an hour of rising.
After two hours of rising.

After two hours of rising, from the top.
    Ta-da! Finished product. Yum. 
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