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Five Minute Bread

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Five Minute Bread

Post  eflan on 3/20/2012, 2:41 pm

For those who love crusty bread, but are bad at baking... do I have a treat for you.

This recipe is a scaled down version of 'Boule' from the book 'Artisan Bread In Five Minutes A Day' and is your standard free-form white French loaf, that also works very well as pizza/panzerotti crust and makes a mean pita pocket too.

The great thing about this book is that it's so incredibly easy... and even though I've had quite a few different dough consistencies when finished every single thing has turned out amazing. (I have issues with peanut butter cookies - it's that whole "what's a measuring cup?" cooking mentality.) It'll look like you spent hours making it, but it's about as time consuming as a bread machine.

The reasoning behind how this works without kneading can be found in the book if you care.

This recipe can be halved, doubled, tripled or more without much fuss: but if doubling the recipe use 1 tbsp for the salt/yeast instead of 3tsp.

Ingredients
1 1/2 cup lukewarm water
1.5 tsp granulated yeast
1.5 tsp coarse salt OR 1 tsp table salt (this can be reduced - I usually do)
3 1/4 cup unbleached all-purpose white flour

Materials
3 quart bowl (or any container) with a lid
A spoon

Method
1. Put the water in a large bowl, add the yeast and salt and stir it to mix.
2. Add the flour, and mix using a spoon until everything is combined. You do not need to kneed, but you can use dough hooks to mix if you like (for instance: my mom would do this because of her arthritis, but I just use a soup spoon.)
3. Put the lid loosely on the bowl, and leave it on the counter for about 2 hours, or until the dough has risen and collapsed.
4. You just made 2 pounds of bread dough without kneading.

At this point, you can either store the dough or use it.

Storage
The dough can be kept in the fridge with a loose fitting lid for up to two weeks: the longer it sits, the better it gets. It develops a mild sourdough flavor. It's easier to handle when chilled.

Usage - Bread
To bake a loaf of bread, it's very nice to have a pizza peel and stone, but not needed. You WILL need cornmeal though (it can be used straight out of the freezer and keeps forever in there).

Here is where I diverge a bit from the book: it recommends sprinkling the top of the dough (in the bowl) with flour before pulling it out. But it creates a crust which I don't like, and I find it unneeded.

This seems like a lot, but it isn't. You actually do about 2-3 minutes of work.

1. Sprinkle a work surface with flour then grab hold of the dough and pull out a piece. You may have to use a steak knife to cut it. For reference, a bread loaf will a little more than double in size when cooked.
2. Take the bundle of dough, plop it down on the flour and flip it so it's covered lightly. Now, you're going to use the base of your thumbs to work the dough into a uniform ball: pick it up, put the thumb side of your palm on the middle of the floured surface, and gently stretch the dough across the top and down around to the bottom (you can use both hands to do this). Turn the dough a bit and repeat until you get a ball that's smooth on the top and looks a bit bunched on the bottom. It takes about 20sec to do once you get the hang of it (and unfortunately I'm terrible at explaining this). You don't want to add much flour: just enough to keep it workable.
3. You can then shape the dough: to make an elongated loaf, I just keep working the dough as above into the right shape: soft of a flattened rectangle with rounded corners.
4. Coat a pizza peel (or cutting board, or some other mobile smooth surface) with cornmeal, and plop the bread onto it.
5. Let it rise for 40min if fresh, 1hr if it's been refrigerated.
6. If using a pizza stone, preheat the oven 20min before done, otherwise toss a cookie sheet in (upside down if it has sides) and preheat for 5min. Either way, toss a pie plate or broiling pan on the shelf below it (or beside the stone/cookie sheet if you don't have a midget oven like me!).
7. Right before baking, drop some flour on top of the loaf and slash it with a sharp knife. A couple lines, a tic-tac-toe pattern: whatever suits your fancy. Then slide it onto the stone/cookie sheet in the oven and pour some hot water into the pan for steam.
8. Bake at 450F until done: a large loaf (half the dough) will take about an hour to an hour and a half. It should be a deep golden brown and be firm to the touch when you tap it. I let it cool on a wooden cutting board or the pizza peel, but if you have cookie racks they're ideal.

This does NOT make a light and fluffy loaf of bread like you find in the bakery section: it makes a hearty loaf with a crispy crackling crust and a moist, slightly dense crumb.

Usage - Pizza or Pita
The basics are the same as above (bread): grab a hunk of dough and turn it into a ball. Then roll it out - if the dough has been chilled, you might need to let it rest a bit so it doesn't snap back on you.

For pizza, roll it out, plop it onto a pizza peel coated in cornmeal, pierce it well with a fork, add the toppings then bake it in the oven at 500F until the crust is golden and firm when you tap it. It'll depend on the size and thickness of the pizza how long it'll take. Everyone I've served it to claims its the best pizza crust they've ever eaten, but then again they just have the local pizza joints to compare it too.

For a pita pocket, preheat the oven to 500F and let a baking sheet warm up in it. Roll the dough into rounds about 1/8" thick, then take the baking sheet out (with oven mitts!), toss the rounds onto it and put it back into the hot oven. They take about 5min to cook depending on size - pull them out when they're puffed right up: don't let them get browned. If you don't want a pocket pita, use the same method but pierce the rounds well with a fork first. You can also fry the pierced rounds in butter or ghee for a decent imitation of naan.

I imagine you could use this for foccacia too, but I've never tried it.

Notes
- The dough can be doctored a bit right before using it by adding a bit of water if it's too dry or by working in more flour if it's really sticky... but even batches that I thought would be flops still turned out fantastic.
- When the bowl is empty - if you plan on making more dough - don't wash it out. Scrape the sides into the water/flour/salt mixture then add the flour. The remains in the bowl will add character to the new batch with that subtle sourdough flavouring. Usually I leave a tablespoon or two in the bottom of the bowl to mix in with the next batch.
- You can feel free to add things to the dough. For instance, if I know that I'll be making only pizza with it I'll add a tsp of olive oil... but I've also tossed things like poppy seeds right into the mix with the water.

Also: if you pick up the book you MUST try the doughnut recipe using the challah dough (or brioche, both have eggs in them and are sweetened with honey). Roll it out and fry pieces in oil then toss them in powdered sugar like a beignet. Absolutely heavenly!

I hope you enjoy it!

eflan

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Location : SW Ontario, Zone 6b

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Re: Five Minute Bread

Post  llama momma on 3/20/2012, 3:24 pm

I will try this! Have always loved a good crusty bread, from back in the day when my Ukrainian grandmother made a thick crusty black bread. Thanks!

llama momma

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Re: Five Minute Bread

Post  mschaef on 3/20/2012, 6:25 pm

I love to make bread with my boys so this will be fun to try! Thanks for sharing!!! Also I love fresh bread!!!!

mschaef

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Re: Five Minute Bread

Post  quiltbea on 3/20/2012, 7:08 pm

My family and I are trying to eat healthier. This sounds like a good bread to try. Thanks for the recipe.

quiltbea

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Re: Five Minute Bread

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