5th July 2009

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Blog :: A Revelation in Bread

I kid you not.

Right now I'm finishing up a glass of red wine and the last crumbs of a slice of bread slathered in hummus. The bread is from a good artisan-style loaf with a dense texture and a chewy crust. It holds together well enough to have made excellent slices of toast to contain a BLT. It looks a lot like the loaves I pay four dollars for at the farmers market or grocery. But I made it. And it only took about 10 minutes.

Well I feel like an informercial pitchman here, but I'm ridiculously enthusiastic about this bread. I'm a passable cook but I've never been a baker - in fact among my new year's resolution was to put in what I assumed would be the effort required to learn to make a decent french bread. Recently I stumbled over a pointer to an article at Mother Earth News entitled Five Minutes A Day for Fresh Baked Bread. The article explains a technique based on a book by Jeff Hertzberg and Zoe Francois which I intend to buy. Fortunately the article explains the technique - basically you mix an extremely wet dough, let it rise at room temperature and then refrigerate it. When you want to make a loaf you pinch off an appropriate amount, tuck it a little (no kneading) and let it rise, than bake at high temperature with a steam pan in the oven. It's easy, and it's good.

I have not yet tried the other recipes and I'm waiting to see how my stored dough matures - It's kept without an airtight cover and is supposed to take on wild yeast flavors and become more sour with age - up to two weeks. Even if it stays sweet, however, I'm personally delighted to have found a ridiculously easy way to make high quality artisan bread.

Posted on July 5th 2009, 12:00 PM

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