Monday, January 26, 2009

More bread techniques for lazy people

Or maybe I should say more bread techniques for 'busy people', right? I'm certainly not lazy - I just don't have time for fancy artisan bread efforts. Until now.

I ordered this book from Amazon because I was intrigued by the title. I didn't even bother to search for reviews, or experiences or anything. I took a risk and it panned out - big time.

And of course, I was highly skeptical. I mean, everyone and their brother told me how easy it was to make yogurt and we all know how that turned out for me, right? I even managed to screw up the supposedly super easy NYTimes version of the 'no-knead bread'. So an entire book (and as it turns out, an entire internet worth of people) going on and on about how easy this bread making process was, just didn't sway me. I know that I'm fully capable of screwing it up, so I reserved judgement.

I also took another stupid risk. I attempted my first loaf when we had company coming for dinner. Our friends were bringing lasagna and salad, so I figured that the perfect accompaniment would be home baked crusty bread. Thank the maker that it worked or I was in for some major excuse making!

Basically, you mix flour, water, yeast and salt in a big storage container. You let it rise for 2 hours (I put it in the oven with only the light bulb on since my house is so cold). Then you put the container in the fridge. When it's time to make bread, you cut off a piece of dough, shape the loaf (which takes all of 30 seconds), let it sit for 40 minutes and then bake it. Voila! You think I'm kidding...but I'm not. My bread turned out looking exactly like the cover and it was yummy. Tender but crusty crust, fully cooked but not the least bit dry interior. And the best part is that I have enough dough in my fridge (well, in my case, in the garage as the fridge is too full of eggs right now!) for 3 more loaves!

We ate the loaf with dinner on Saturday night. On Sunday morning, I grabbed another hunk of dough, shaped it, and baked it and it was even better the next day. Apparently, this bread gets better with age - more sourdough like. You can keep the dough in the fridge for up to 14 days, too. Amazing!

There are other recipes in the book that are a variation on this one including baguettes, seasoned loaves, sweet breads and cinnamon rolls. I can't wait to try my next batch!

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