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Sunday, June 13, 2010

Homemade Bread is Easy Now!

I absolutely love baking it! I have grown to dislike the gummy consistency of most overly processed store bought bread. But homemade bread takes so darn long to make. There's the kneading, the rising, and the get the picture. It takes forever. Until now! I am excited to say that I have become a convert of the "Artisan Bread in 5 Minutes a Day" movement. Okay, so it's not actually a movement yet, but I think it will become one!

I first found the recipe on Mother Earth News -

It's so incredibly easy to make consisting of only four ingredients - flour, water, salt, yeast. You literally mix them together, let it rise for a little while and put it in the fridge to use over a span of two weeks. By the end of two weeks, the bread starts to take on a sourdough consistency which is just amazing. I love it and I now I can seriously have my bread every day!!

Here's a quick version of the recipe for boule:
3 cups lukewarm water
1 1/2 Tbsps granulated yeast (1 1/2 packets)
1 1/2 Tbsps granulated kosher or other coarse salt (if using regular table salt, reduce!)
6 1/2 cups unsifted, unbleached, all-purpose white flour

Mix dry ingredients, add water and mix until doughy consistency forms and let rise. Place in bowl with lid, but you do not want it to be airtight.

It is that simple! Place in refrigerator for up to two weeks.

I know that most people wonder if baking their own bread is really a good idea that it will lead to extra pounds. Well, it might if we eat too much of it. I don't use bread for sandwiches at lunch very often, but this bread comes in handy for toast in the morning. This makes a great ciabatta bread that would be great for sandwiches. The book "Artisan Bread in Five Minutes a Day" by Jeff Hertzberg and Zoe Francois gives you a ton of different ways to make your bread - naan, pita, roasted potato garlic bread, granola bread, spinach-feta bread...tons of different bread! I am really excited about having bread in which I can give you the exact ingredients. I am sick of the laundry list of ingredients that go into other breads so this makes me feel a little bit safer and it's really no more time consuming than going to the store except one type of dough can yield you several different styles of bread (pita, naan, sourdough, white use the same recipe). Check out the book and see for yourself! I picked my copy up at the local library.

You can also use the boule for pizza dough, but I found another quick recipe that I mixed up one night when I got home and had pizza dough in about five minutes. This was found at labeled Pizza Dough I. I added a few of the seasonings (listed below) to mine. I threw in however much I thought looked good at the time so I apologize for not adding amounts.

Homemade pizza dough:
3 cups all-purpose flour
1 (.25 ounce) package active dry yeast
1 tsp salt
Add oregano, garlic, or Italian seasoning, parmesan or anything other seasoning at this stage.
1 Tbsp white sugar
2 Tbsp olive oil
1 cup warm water

1. Combine flour, salt, sugar, seasonings and yeast in a bowl. Mix in oil and warm water. Stir until combined and dough starts to form. Spread out on a large pizza pan.
*Add yeast to water and let foam for a crispier crust.

2. Bake crust for 5-7 minutes before adding toppings to keep from being doughy in the middle.

2. Bake at 375 degrees C for 20-25 minutes.

Homemade bread can be as easy and quick as store bought and can offer many other variations. Use different kinds of flour (wheat, rye, oat, etc) to lend a heartier taste to the crust and to add more fiber. Hope you enjoy!

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