Today my house smelled like a homey bakery on a crisp autumn walk; like Thanksgiving day in the kitchen; like comfort wrapped in a warm, yummy blanket…
But you wanna know what I did today?
I took my one-year old to his wellness visit, followed by a hurried run to the grocery store. I didn’t feel like going home after that to face the mountains of dishes and laundry and straightening that needed to be done, so I popped over to chick-fil-a for a cup of coffee and to let the kids crawl around the indoor playground. We stayed a good long time- I kept remembering those dishes and letting them play five minutes more…
Getting home, I actually stole the chance to sit and read an article on antibiotics and ear infections. Amidst the reading and reeling the crawler from danger every five minutes or so, I actually got the kids’ rooms dusted and vacuumed, and their sheets washed, even cleaned their windows!
I’m not bragging about my accomplishments today- if only you could see the complete disaster that is our bedroom. My house is nowhere near clean, and come to think of it, I didn’t even take a shower today either, if it makes you feel better, but I am making a point here.
What I’m telling you is that I did a hundred other random things today, and those loaves of bread up there? Those were on my list of “done and done.” Not because I have superhero powers. I didn’t manage to stop time.
You wanna know how?
It’s ‘Artisan Bread in Five Minutes a Day’ bread. You have most likely heard of it. I want to tell you about it- just incase. It’s kind of life-altering.
This is a post I’m bringing over to TSK from mine and Elisa‘s ol’ blog, nu-trio. Our friend, Helen, gave Elisa this book as a gift several years ago. Since I’m such a visual learner, I probably wouldn’t have realized just how simple and amazing this was if Elisa hadn’t been making it constantly that summer, so that I got to see with my own eyes just how little out of your day it actually takes to get delicious bread that seems like you worked for hours. Not to mention, it’s an American’s answer to the age-old question of how to get the crunchy crust and soft inside, like the French do! This is valuable stuff. Don’t take it for granted.
Here’s what I did the day before yesterday. It took about five minutes, if you count walking to the pantry to get everything and wiping down afterwards:
I got down my big ol’ plastic container for making the large batch. This guy lives on top of my fridge (after I took this picture, I decided to give him a little rinse. heh).
I poured in 6 cups of water straight from the tap.
To the water went in the yeast straight from my jar I keep in the fridge.
Then the same amount of kosher salt. Then I gave it a quick little stir.
Next I added bread flour- for the big batch, I did 11 Cups, scoop and scrape.
When I get to my last two cups of flour (cups 12-13), I switch it over to whole wheat, just for fun.
Stirred it together and got something sticky and globby like this. Perfect.
I put the lid on and set it on top of the fridge for the rest of the day. That night, popped it in my frigid pantry- you would probably put it in the fridge- but since mine was full, the pantry worked, but only because mine is seriously like a second refrigerator.
After the initial rise- five hours- It will look like this (except maybe yours will be in better light). Doubled up and oooey-gooey.
You now have a patient dough, awaiting your custom need for marvelous home baked bread.
Today, somewhere between making Sam’s seventeenth snack of the day, and playing Old Maid with Harper for the fifth time, while the sheets were drying, I baked beautiful bread.
And it was good.
What I made today with the large batch recipe I’m sharing below, were two loaf pan sizes, a wide french loaf, and a round loaf- both medium sized. The two medium-sized dinner loaves made it into the freezer for a quick pull any weeknight- but only because I wanted to bake it all so I could show you…you wouldn’t freeze it. duh. You would just bake it fresh for dinner! The loaves are in the bread box awaiting a toast and a smear of butter and honey or peanut butter, likely to disappear very soon.
The rolls are Elisa’s specialty and I began taking them to our family’s for Thanksgiving a couple of years ago. Going the dinner-roll route ensures everyone the crunchy crust-enveloped softness that this bread embodies.
You have plenty of options here, so get creative! Pizza Crust? Cinnamon Rolls? The rolls make a nice crusty sandwich roll too. It’s right there waiting for you in your fridge for the whole week.
So you can wash the dog and play frisbee in the rain all day if you want to; tackle the junk closet that is about to overtake the world, maybe. You’ll still be able to make and enjoy this bread.
- 6 cups lukewarm water, plus ½ cup for baking steam
- 11 cups bread flour, plus up to ¼ cup more for dusting each loaf
- 1-2 cups whole wheat flour
- 3 Tablespoons rapid rise yeast
- 3 Tablespoons salt
- Into a large plastic container or large bowl, pour water.
- Add yeast and salt and give a quick stir.
- Scoop and scrape 13 cups flour (can really be any combo of flour you choose).
- Stir to form a sticky, shaggy consistency.
- Put lid on container or cover with plastic wrap and allow to rise in a warm place for five hours.
- After five hours, place dough in refrigerator and store for up to a week, pulling what you need an hour before you want it ready to eat.
- Preheat oven to 425°
- Dust dough with a generous amount of flour and pull off desired size.
- On a lightly floured surface (pizza peel), shape dough into size/shape artisan loaf of your choice.
- Allow to rise for 30 minutes.
- Place a metal dish with ½ cup of water in the oven on lowest rack for steam, keeping an eye on it and adding to it if necessary.
- Bake for 30 minutes or until golden and hollow sounding when you knock on it (This is hard to over-bake, so more time is better than less).