All of you know how much I loved the revolutionary bread-making technique taught in the original Artisan Bread in Five Minutes a Day; and you know that I reviewed Artisan Pizza and Flatbreads in Five Minutes a Day, for you, in November of 2011. I have easily used the five-minutes-a-day principle for making everyday sandwich bread, rolls, pizza crust, rye bread, rustic artisan loaves and so much more! The whole idea revolves around making a large batch of extra moist dough that requires no kneading and can be stored in your fridge for up to two weeks (Ours NEVER lasts that long. 🙂 ) Just before mealtime, you reach in and tear off the amount of dough you want to bake, spend about 10 seconds shaping your loaf and then let it rest forty to sixty minutes, until you’re ready to put it in the oven. I think the five minutes must be calculated by adding each of the seconds it takes to tear off the dough, shape the loaf, place it to rest, turn the oven on to preheat, slash the top of the loaf, put it in the oven and then take it back out of the oven. Even then, I’m not sure it takes five minutes. Having the dough pre-made and waiting in the refrigerator saves me so much time and ensures hot, fresh bread with a minimum of work, any time I want it. LOVE. LOVE. LOVE!
Today, I have the chance to share a newly updated and revised Artisan Bread in Five Minutes a Day. The concept hasn’t really changed, so what’s “new”, you might be asking? Lots! There’s a chapter on gluten-free bread baking, a frequently asked questions and answers section, 30 new recipes and even more color photos! If you have an aspiring bread-baker, a veteran bread-baker or just a busy mom who loves serving fresh, wholesome, homemade food to her family, on your Christmas gift-list, this fabulous cookbook will fulfill all their foodie dreams and turn them into artisan bread bakers extraordinaire! It’s a fabulous gift idea any time of year.
I’ve been working on new holiday recipes and I wanted to create a bread bowl to serve Hot Spinach and Artichoke Dip. It was incredibly easy with the basic Bread in Five Minutes a Day Recipe! Here’s all I did.
- 3 cups lukewarm water
- 1 Tablespoon yeast
- 1 to 1½ Tablespoons Kosher salt
- 6½ cups unbleached all-purpose flour (scoop and sweep measuring method)
- Mix yeast, salt and warm water in a container that holds at least 6 qts and has a lid.
- Add flour and mix until the mixture is uniformly moist and all ingredients have been incorporated.
- Cover with a lid that fits well but can be cracked open slightly to allow the escape of gases.
- Leave the container on the counter until the dough has risen and then begins to collapse or flatten on top. (Usually about 2 hours depending on your room temperature and the initial temp of the water you used.) This is what my dough looked like on top -- no nice round, mounded top, but a collapsing, slightly flat top.
- At the end of two hours your dough will be a lot higher in the container, having risen, substantially, even though it is now starting to deflate a little.
- Refrigerate the dough and leave the lid slightly cracked open for the first two days. You can close it after that. Use the dough within the next fourteen days.
- I don't own a pizza peel, so I use a flat baking sheet (one with no sides) or one of my wooden cutting boards and sprinkle the surface with cornmeal.
- I sprinkle the surface of my dough, still in the container, with flour.
- Then, with flour-coated hands, I pull up and cut off a grapefruit-sized piece of dough (1 lb.).You can dust the surface of your dough ball with flour to help keep it from sticking to your hands, too.
- Gently stretch the surface of the dough around to the bottom on all four sides, rotating a quarter-turn each time. Most of the dusting flour will fall off, as you work. It's not meant to be worked into your dough.
- Don't worry about a mass of bunched ends at the bottom of your loaf. They will flatten and blend into the loaf during resting and baking. The entire process of shaping your loaf will take about 20 to 40 seconds. (With practice, it will be even less.) This method works for me when making both round and oval shaped loaves.
- Place the shaped loaf onto the cornmeal-sprinkled board you've prepared.
- Let the dough rest on the board for about 40 minutes.
- Preheat the oven to 450 degrees. You will preheat your baking stone (pizza stone) in the oven at the same time, placing it on a rack near the middle of the oven.
- Place a metal baking pan or broiler pan on the rack below the stone. I like to place it off to one side, so it's easy for me to get to, when I am ready to pour in the water. With the stone and pan in place, close the door and allow the oven to preheat while your dough is resting.
- I got in such a hurry to get my loaf baked, that I skipped this next very important step -- cutting slashes in the top of your loaves. This will allow the loaves to hold their original shape and help prevent odd bulges from oven spring. What is oven spring, you ask? Oven spring is the rapid rise that occurs in bread dough during the first few minutes of baking. When the yeast hits a hot oven it uses its final oomph to do a quick push which can result in odd shaped loaves if not baking in a loaf pan. Slashing the tops of these loaves helps prevent those funny bulges and helps your loaf retain its shape. The picture below is a good example of the slight deformities that can occur in your finished loaf, when the slashes aren't made prior to baking.
- Even though it wasn't as critical for this loaf, since I was going to hollow it out and bake dip in it, please learn from my mistake and always remember to slash your artisan loaves.
- So, after 40 minutes of resting time, it's time to cut the slashes. Dust the top of your loaf with flour so your serrated knife will not stick to the dough as you make your cuts. Slash two or three, ½-inch deep, parallel lines or line-design of some sort in the top of your loaf with the blade held perpendicular to the loaf.
- Slide the loaf off your corn-meal sprinkled board or baking sheet on to the preheated baking stone. The cornmeal under the loaf will help it slide freely as you give the board or sheet quick forward and back jiggles.
- Quickly pour 1 cup of water in the metal baking pan or broiler tray and close the oven door to trap the steam in the oven. This will produce that wonderful crisp crust, so familiar in crusty artisan loaves.
- Bake one pound loaves for 30-35 minutes or until the crust is richly browned and firm to the touch.
- When you remove the loaf from the oven, a perfectly baked loaf will make a crackling sound when first exposed to room-temperature air.
- Allow to cool completely on a wire cooling rack for best flavor, texture and slicing.
It’s easy to get a copy of the NEW Artisan Bread in Five Minutes a Day for your own kitchen or for gift-giving. Amazon has the gorgeous, 400-page hard bound version for only $18.96 or you can purchase the Kindle version for only $12.29!
GIVEAWAY: You also have a chance to win a copy for your own kitchen! Busy-at-Home readers can use the Rafflecopter form, below to enter a giveaway for a hard-bound copy of the NEW Artisan Bread in Five Minutes a Day! Just leave a comment on this post telling me what recipe from the cookbook you would like to try first. You can browse the index of the cookbook on Amazon. Just CLICK on the book image that says SEE INSIDE. Browse the index and get inspired for all the delicious home-baked breads you can make, then tell me the name of the recipe you want to try in a comment, below. Register your comment on the Rafflecopter form. That’s it! Good luck!
a Rafflecopter giveaway