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PostPosted: Sun Jan 25, 2009 11:25 pm 
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Okay, so know this isn't a real big hippie crowd, but if your library has Mother Earth News magazine, last month has the basic bread recipe from this cookbook, and it so totally rocks. I generally don't buy cookbooks anymore, because they're like crack for me and were cluttering up my house, but I bought the book and pretty much all their recipes rock (and obviously are very well tested for the home cook!)

Basic crusty bread recipe from “Artisan Bread in Five Minutes a Day,” by Jeff Hertzberg and Zoë François (Thomas Dunne Books, 2007)

1 1/2 tablespoons yeast

1 1/2 tablespoons kosher salt

6 1/2 cups unbleached, all-purpose flour, more for dusting dough

Cornmeal



1. In a large bowl or plastic container, mix yeast and salt into 3 cups lukewarm water (about 100 degrees). Stir in flour, mixing until there are no dry patches. Dough will be quite loose/wet. Cover, but not with an airtight lid. Let dough rise at room temperature 2 hours (or up to 5 hours).

2. Bake at this point or refrigerate, covered, for as long as two weeks. When ready to bake, sprinkle a little flour on dough and cut off a grapefruit-size piece with serrated knife. Turn dough in hands to lightly stretch surface, creating a rounded top and a lumpy bottom. Put dough on pizza peel sprinkled with cornmeal; let rest 40 minutes. Repeat with remaining dough or refrigerate it.

3. Place broiler pan on bottom of oven. Place baking stone on middle rack and turn oven to 450 degrees; heat stone at that temperature for 20 minutes.

4. Dust dough with flour, slash top with serrated or very sharp knife three times. Slide onto stone. Pour one cup hot water into broiler pan and shut oven quickly to trap steam. Bake until well browned, about 30 minutes. Cool completely. (it will crackle while it's cooling, which is pretty neat)

If you like crusty-outside, extremely tender inside "artisan" bread, OMG this is so good. The loaves are pretty small, though I was able to double the size of the loaf (getting two out of the initial mix rather than four). But it's so easy, I've pretty much just been baking a loaf of fresh dough a day, and it's really no extra work. Though you can bake it the same day as you make the dough, I agree with the authors that it does best after at least 24 hours in the fridge, I think because it's so much easier to handle when cold.

Here's a video of the authors demonstrating/talking about the recipe. :) Though they're explaining every little thing about how to measure and stuff, which most of us here aren't going to need. And I'm not sure that I'll be baking with a pizza stone in the PAW, but...I think some people here might get a kick out of trying this anyway. :)


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PostPosted: Mon Jan 26, 2009 6:19 am 
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great recipe! I'll have to try it next time we have company coming. Hubby doesn't like Artisan bread, but I do! :)

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PostPosted: Mon Jan 26, 2009 6:36 am 
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And I'm not sure that I'll be baking with a pizza stone in the PAW,

Since a pizza stone is used to simulate a stome oven it might be a bood thing. In fact if your heat source might be a bit erratic (electricty or gas might go out) it is a good idea to keep a pizza stone in the oven to hold the heat so the oven will stay warm longer. I never take the pizza stone out of my oven and it maintains a more steady temperature.

If I were making a stone oven I would start with pizza stones over the clay in the base because they have a smooth surface.

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PostPosted: Mon Jan 26, 2009 9:54 am 
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Totally making this tonight, thanks!

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PostPosted: Mon Jan 26, 2009 10:13 am 
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crypto wrote:
Totally making this tonight, thanks!


No kidding! Salt, Yeast, Flour. One of the things I love about baking bread is that you often get the most awesome bread from the simplest ingredient lists.

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PostPosted: Mon Jan 26, 2009 10:28 am 
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No kidding! Salt, Yeast, Flour. One of the things I love about baking bread is that you often get the most awesome bread from the simplest ingredient lists.


Works for beer too.
Beer is liquid bread.

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PostPosted: Mon Jan 26, 2009 11:15 am 
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kiwilrdg wrote:
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No kidding! Salt, Yeast, Flour. One of the things I love about baking bread is that you often get the most awesome bread from the simplest ingredient lists.


Works for beer too.
Beer is liquid bread.


And as Joy points out (Joy as in "Joy of Cooking") since beer and bread are first cousins, you can replace the water in any bread recipe with beer, and add some real quality to the bread.

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PostPosted: Mon Jan 26, 2009 12:33 pm 
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[quote]And as Joy points out (Joy as in "Joy of Cooking") since beer and bread are first cousins, you can replace the water in any bread recipe with beer, and add some real quality to the bread.quote]

Or you can add more water to the bread recipe, wait longer, skip cooking and make beer.

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PostPosted: Mon Jan 26, 2009 12:53 pm 
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I had always heard that adding salt to the yeasty water will kill the yeast. Is that true? I always mix the salt in with the flour to give the little buggers half a chance.

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PostPosted: Mon Jan 26, 2009 1:07 pm 
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It doesn't kill the yeast straight out, but it does stop them multiplying so rapidly. If the yeast grows too fast, then you end up with bread that has huge holes in it, instead of an even texture. Plus, for flavor, obviously.

Mixing the salt in with the flour is how I do it, too. Works fine. The point is to have salt at all, not exactly how you mix it.

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PostPosted: Mon Jan 26, 2009 1:10 pm 
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Duckster, I had always been taught that as well (also to add some sugar).

I have used rapid rise and regular yeast, no problems. :)

The best thing about this bread is NO KNEADING! :)

Can't wait to hear what y'all think!

If your library has a copy of the book, it's worth checking out as well. Once I got the boule down pat, I was eager to start adding stuff, but wasn't sure if it'd mess it up. After reading the suggested fancier recipes, I was able to finally recreate my fave chocolate-cherry bread!

I don't have a pizza peel, but put the cornmeal on a baking sheet, and then shove the bread off onto the baking stone with a spatula. I found that even with the cornmeal it tended to stick to my cutting boards, I think because they're plastic.


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PostPosted: Mon Jan 26, 2009 8:49 pm 
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In a word,

JESUS.


beth and I just about wet ourselves when we took the first bite.

"cool completely" my ass. It was gone before it stopped steaming. I took one bite and ran back into the kitchen to throw another loaf in the oven before it cooled off.

Pics to follow. Holy shit I just had a breadgasm.

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PostPosted: Mon Jan 26, 2009 9:02 pm 
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After you pull one batch out, do you add more flour to the mix? keep it going like sour dough?

In Bread Baker's Apprentice, he makes what he calls "ancient bread", where its mixed up with ice water, and then sits over night in the fridge. That gives the yeast time to really age, and lets it ferment a bit (like beer...). The taste is excellent, and some of that is going on when you say its better after being in the fridge overnight.

I have a batch mixed for tomorrow. Got home from work too late to cook it tonight.

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PostPosted: Mon Jan 26, 2009 9:28 pm 
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Ahh Mother Earth News. I love that magazine. Decent bread recipe. I'm not a huge fan of artisan bread but I do like the 5 minutes of work a day. Plus the boyfriend and I are currently trying to get in a shape besides round and are bread fiends so I've been avoiding making any. :(

Thanks for posting the recipe.

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PostPosted: Mon Jan 26, 2009 9:39 pm 
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Bebaker, in the magazine they also have a recipe for the same concept, but whole wheat sandwich bread that you bake in normal loaf pans, and less of a crust. I was gung ho to try it, but I was busy blabbering away on the phone while measuring and put in an extra cup of flour and thus ruined the dough. (I tried baking it just to see what would happen, it was tasty but extremely dense. :D)

So that might be worth giving a shot. Right now everyone in the family is enraptured by the 'crusty bread', so I haven't tried it again. :)


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PostPosted: Mon Jan 26, 2009 9:47 pm 
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phil_in_cs wrote:
After you pull one batch out, do you add more flour to the mix? keep it going like sour dough?


Nope, you just let it be. You're sprinkling a little flour on the top in order to cut off the amount you need for your round, but that's it. Once you've made your loaves, you can scrape down the sides of the container and not wash it out before mixing up another batch. The authors say that you can get a bit of sourdough-ish bite if you do that, but having kept my container in constant use for a month, I think they're fibbing a bit. It's certainly not like real sourdough.

So that is the drawback, that you don't keep it going. On the other hand, you don't need to feed it or worry about messing up your starter (not that it's that hard, but still..). I think this is really good for the novice bread maker, who's intimidated by starters and/or kneading, ect. Or for people who really like crusty bread.

I'm tempted to try a regular bread recipe, add a little more liquid, and then cook it with the pizza-stone-and-steam method to see if I can get a similar chewy crust.

Also, forgot to mention that if you stretch out your hunk of dough and press it out flat and don't let it rise very much, it makes a good hearty pizza base too. My kids really enjoyed it (they're big into pizza crusts).


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PostPosted: Mon Jan 26, 2009 11:09 pm 
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Hell yes. Bread deliciousness. 6 people have had this bread tonight and everyone has rolled their eyes back into their heads. It's full of win.

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PostPosted: Mon Jan 26, 2009 11:26 pm 
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Hehehe, Crypto you made my night. :)


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PostPosted: Mon Jan 26, 2009 11:30 pm 
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I'm going to try this out at my girlfriend's house later this week, thank you!


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PostPosted: Tue Jan 27, 2009 8:06 am 
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phil_in_cs wrote:
In Bread Baker's Apprentice, he makes what he calls "ancient bread", where its mixed up with ice water, and then sits over night in the fridge. That gives the yeast time to really age, and lets it ferment a bit (like beer...). The taste is excellent, and some of that is going on when you say its better after being in the fridge overnight.


I'm no pro, but I think what's happening here is two things. First, flour needs time to hydrate for its flavor to fully develop. When you let it sit over night, the flour granules have time to soak up the water in the dough. Also, it improves the texture of the bread. Cold yeast produces CO2 much slower, which makes smaller bubbles in the dough.

I learned this from Good Eats pizza episode. I absolutely love that show.

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PostPosted: Tue Jan 27, 2009 8:37 am 
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Part of the cold ferment is also the 'no sugar' part. The yeast needs sugar, but if there isn't any it will break down the flour into the sugars and use those.

I mixed it up last night. Being the nut that can't follow directions that I am, I substituted half the flour as whole wheat, and used the remainder as bread flour (rather than AP) to make sure there's enough gluten for it to stick. I had to add a bit more water.

We will see - flour is cheap if my variant is a flop. Homemade bread is always at least 'good' even if it isn't 'great'.

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PostPosted: Tue Jan 27, 2009 9:42 am 
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We will see - flour is cheap if my variant is a flop. Homemade bread is always at least 'good' even if it isn't 'great'.


If all else fails bread can be dried and used like hardtack. It keeps several years and can be ground up for breadcrumbs for dumplings and stuffing..

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PostPosted: Tue Jan 27, 2009 2:30 pm 
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Heading to the kitchen now...

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PostPosted: Tue Jan 27, 2009 2:32 pm 
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Now I need a pizza stone...


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