I still can't believe it. But I did have a little help.
A few weeks ago, I read a book review on Scribbit. Michelle raved about a book called Artisan Bread in Five Minutes a Day, written by Jeff Hertzberg and Zoe Francois. Michelle followed the simple instructions in the book, and easily turned out beautiful loaves of bread.
Could it really be true? I have great memories of my mother and Aunt Jennifer baking bread together on Thanksgiving. They spent hours in the kitchen mixing dough, letting it rise, and braiding it into beautiful and delicious loaves. And so I've wanted to do the same. Only I fail miserably.
A few years ago, I put a King Arthur Flour bread baking book on my Christmas list. I received it from my sister-in-law, and was so excited to try it. I mean, any bread book by King Arthur Flour is like a bread Bible, right? The problem was, I couldn't get it right. I did everything according to the directions, but my bread slumped over in the oven and made a giant mess all over the baking stone. It wasn't edible.
So I was intrigued by Michelle's review, but wasn't quite a believer. I did my research, reading reviews on Amazon. Even self-proclaimed bread snobs said this book was a winner. I bought it Friday night, then held my breath and made the dough on Saturday.
Everything went according to plan. The master recipe in the book is for a Boule dough, which is an artisan free-form loaf. I added water, yeast, and salt into my stand mixer, then dumped in the flour all at once. (You can also mix by hand.) About a minute later, I had bread dough. That was it, no blooming the yeast or kneading. I let it rise on the counter for a couple of hours, and popped it into the fridge.
And it still looked good the next morning. I formed a loaf and set it on the counter to rest. I preheated the oven. I told Chris I was afraid to bake it. Everything was going along so perfectly, and here was the test. It couldn't possibly be this easy.
Imagine how excited I was when a perfect loaf of bread was ready just thirty minutes later. The best thing about this recipe (besides the fact that it makes delicious bread) is that you mix enough dough for four one-pound loaves. Then you just store it in the refrigerator for up to fourteen days, taking what you need as you bake. So I popped in another loaf. When it was finished, it looked even better than the first.
I felt like an accomplished baker when I took these to Rachel's for Sunday dinner. And I had a huge feeling of satisfaction when they were gobbled up, to rave reviews.
I made a new batch of dough with Evie this morning, and it's waiting in the fridge. After I'm sure I've mastered this recipe, I'm on to the Vermont Cheddar Bread recipe. Or the Olive Bread recipe. Or maybe I'll get brave and try Bagels or Pretzels or Naan. Or Brioche. All I know, is this book has given me the confidence to try them all!
I served the loaves Sunday with a simple Cinnamon Butter.
Cinnamon Butter 1/2 c. butter, softened 1 c. honey 1 Tbsp. ground cinnamon
Cream butter in mixer. Add honey and cinnamon, and mix until fully incorporated. Chill before serving.
Lisa hosts Tempt My Tummy Tuesdays over at Blessed with Grace. Visit her for more yummy recipes!
I have been married for more than 11 years to my fantastic husband, Chris, and we have two beautiful and energetic children. Evie is 5, and full of spunk and sparkle. Ethan is 2, and has taught me about trains and construction vehicles and Buzz Lightyear - and about sweet boy cuddles.
I strive to be gentle and kind - a reflection of the love Christ has shown to us. I don't always live it perfectly, but I am working towards a life of gratitude, joy, and love!