As much as I love to eat bread, I’ve always been too intimidated to bake it myself. If I had to cook something that required a fresh batch of dough, I’d buy it already pre-made and ready to use. There’s no messing with yeast and measuring cups, and certainly no waiting for the dough to rise.
That’s the idea behind Artisan Bread in 5 Minutes a Day. This cookbook shows you how by preparing your dough in advance. Each time you need a loaf, you pull a piece from your refrigerated supply, shape it, let it rest for a few minutes and then pop it into the oven.
After reading that the artistan free-form loaf called French boule was the easiest and most reliable bread to make, I decided this was a good place to start. My husband was amazed to see me enlisting the stand mixer that I refuse to remove from my countertop even though it only gets used a few times each year. This was also my first time ever using the dough hook attachment!
What I had thought was the hardest part was actually the easiest. The mixer assembled my dough in under 2 minutes. If you don’t have a mixer–no worries, you can mix your ingredients the old fashioned way. After letting the dough rise for two hours, I formed a ball. Now this was the hardest part. I kept reading the instructions in the book and looking at the pictures, but my dough ball just didn’t look as good as theirs. So I did my best and let the loaf rest for 40 minutes as instructed. Since I don’t have a baking stone, I placed my loaf onto a baking sheet. It didn’t rise much as I had expected, but in the oven it did some rising. We let it cool for as long as we could wait, and now the moment of truth…
It came out great! The perfect sour dough bread, and my house smells fantastic. Looks like I’ll have to make another loaf tomorrow since it is almost gone! Just watch how easy it is to bake delicious bread in no time with this video featuring the authors:
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