Did you guess what food I tried to replace first? It was bread.
I've made homemade bread in the past. It's not hard to make by hand, just a little time consuming. I had a bread machine. Never been thrilled with it. I couldn't get it to rise properly so it would turn out flat and yeasty tasting. Don't know if it was me or the machine. Plus bread baked in the oven just tastes better. I gave up on the bread machine and out the door he went.
Josh gave me a nice food processor for Mother's Day and my birthday last year. I'd been wanting one for a while. It came with a dough blade so it was the perfect opportunity to try my hand at making bread again. I tried the recipe in the food processor booklet. It was easy and tasted great. I tried a recipe from my Betty Crocker cookbook. Again, it was easy and tasted great. As long as the amount of flour is less than 4 cups, I can make any recipe I want without the mess and time of hand kneading, but the rise time and clean up of the food processor can be frustrating. This became more of a once a week treat rather than a full replacement for store bought bread.
Then, last month, I was reading a blog that talked about making bread in less than 5 minutes a day. Impossible, right? I eventually ended up at Artisan Bread in Five, the website of the authors of the book Artisan Bread in Five Minutes a Day. Still sounded too good to be true so I read on. I didn't want to spend $15 on a cookbook, at least not right away. Their basic bread recipe and method is on the website so I tried it.
I just used a large mixing bowl with a lid and a regular wooden spoon to prepare the dough. Measure and stir, then let rise. That's all there was to it. After the rise time, I baked the first loaf on my pizza stone – the recipe makes 4 1-pound loaves of bread. The rest of the dough went into the fridge where it can stay for about a week as you pull off chunks to bake. Then next day I pulled out another chunk of dough, shaped it, let it rise for 30 minutes, and then baked it. Repeat the next day. So easy and so yummy!
One frustration that I ran into was not having anything to let the dough rise on while the stone was pre-heating in the oven. The remedy was a pizza peel that Josh bought for me for Christmas. I used it for the first time yesterday and it made the process even easier – sprinkle a little corn meal on the peel, pull out some dough, shape into loaf, let rise for at least 30 minutes, slide onto the stone, bake for about 30 minutes, let cool, and enjoy!
I really think this is going to become a staple in our house and will replace store-bought bread. I decided not to buy bread this week to create an environment where I had to make bread. Given a little more time, I think I might buy the book so I have more recipes and some variety to the types of bread that I make.
Try making this bread and then come back to leave a comment telling me what you thought of the bread and the process.