Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Homemade bread

I have never baked bread before in my life. I mean, I own a bread machine but that's not really baking bread with my own hands (although it's quite good and easy!). So I was intrigued by (and frankly, skeptical of) Jeffrey Hertzberg's and Zoe Francois' book Artisan Bread in Five Minutes a Day. Verdict? There's some dough resting time beyond the 5 minutes, but that's nearly all it takes, folks. I'm a convert!

Honestly, it couldn't be easier. You mix flour, yeast, water and salt in a container (5 minutes), store it in the fridge and, for up to two weeks, you can pull off a hunk of the dough and shape it into a ball (2 minutes), let it sit (40 minutes), bake it (30 minutes) and -- voila! -- bread (or pizza dough!).

Want to see?

My first attempt yielded an amazingly yummy albeit slightly misshapen loaf (I tried to convince my husband it looked like a swan's neck but the word "goiter" kept being bandied about instead), but I'm dealing with the oven from hell that has decided that 410 degrees and ONLY 410 degrees is the ideal temperature for cooking everything, regardless of what I tell it to do. But I digress...

Goiter-I-mean-swan-neck loaf

My second loaf looked exactly as it should!

Picture-perfect loaf

If you're not convinced by my evangelizing, watch this short video of the authors prepping the ingredients and shaping a loaf. Then go buy the book. (Note: The authors also have a new book out that incorporates more whole grains and gluten-free ingredients, but I thought I'd start with the basics first).

Bon appetit!


  1. Funny that you left a new, gourmet kitchen for a rental with a temperamental oven, and then found time to get cooking. You can come use my kitchen any time, as long as I get some samples.

  2. You know me, Linda, I'm dramatic -- the kitchen here is just as lovely as mine was in NC and the oven from hell is a 6-burner, professional-style Dacor... it's just a little old and temperamental ... or temperature-mental.

  3. Yum!! I need that recipe, it sounds perfect. I love fresh bread, but who has the kind of time? Other than you, of course.