Bread. Yes bread! I’ve started making my own bread and I’m hooked. I’ve tried a number of recipes, each one with their merits.
I first embarked on this journey a few weeks ago when I made my first loaf – a supremely delicious Honey Whole-Wheat recipe courtesy of Martha Stewart (brought to my attention by the lovely and talented Laney…thank you lady!). This bread was amazing and full of flavor. My husband and I ate the entire loaf in one day!
The second attempt was a traditional White Bread recipe from an Amish cookbook that I treasure. It made two loaves, kept well, toasted well, delicious with butter or as a sandwich. No complaints.
My third loaf was from the book ‘Artisan Bread in Five Minutes a Day’ by Jeff Hertzberg and Zoe Francois. Absolutely delicious chewy bread with crisp crust. In a word, YUM! Now for those of you who live in a hole and haven’t heard of this amazing book, it’s all about recipes that you make in quantity and allow to age in the refrigerator…no kneading or waiting all day for the loaf to rise numerous times. The title is a bit of a misnomer, as once the bread is mixed, which takes 10 minutes max, it is left to rise in the fridge. When you take it out to make bread (the dough lasts for over a week) you need to shape it and allow it to rise for a good 2 hours, in my experience, before baking. Nothing is difficult to do, but making traditional bread isn’t difficult either, it just takes time. I have to say, although I really love the taste and texture of the ‘master recipe’ (there are many more recipes to try in the book, but I’ve only just gotten it this week) I miss the kneading and punching down – the physicality of it all. I joked after making my first loaf of bread that I had a new exercise regime! I also miss the care needed in making a traditional loaf, the love and attention that is put into each stage.
So in conclusion, the Five Minute bread book is great, it really is a wonderful resource for anyone who is strapped for time and appreciates a freshly baked loaf of bread (who isn’t and who doesn’t?). This book, however will not be my final destination in bread making, I must continue my journey, learning new techniques, perhaps experimenting with a baking stone, and putting my time and heart into more old fashioned recipes. Next up, a recipe for Cottage Cheese and Dill Bread courtesy of my high school friend’s Mom (thanks Mrs. Nix!). I’ll let you know how it turns out.