Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Artisan Bread - First Try

I am having a day where every time I even think about focusing on something, five other somethings fight for attention, leaving me scattered and feeling harassed and overworked without actually managing to do anything at all.

(HAH! She said! HAH, interrupted FOUR... times just typing that comment.)

So consider this a placeholder post which will hopefully be filled in with something coherent later. (Or not, but them's the breaks)

Yesterday, I tried the basic recipe for 5 Minute Artisan Bread as explained by Jeff Hertzberg and Zoë François.  I've been wanting both of their artisan bread books for awhile now, but I want to follow the process a few times to make sure I can do it, and to find out whether or not I WILL do it.

The first question is answered with a big fat yes - I physically can manage the stirring process that's needed much much better than my arthritic hands can cope with kneading.  The dough did what it was supposed to...rose, fell, made bread that tasted and looked like it was supposed to.

There will be a picture here of the dough rising up like the Swamp Thing later.  There won't be any picture of that first loaf of bread, though - we dove into it like maniacs and it was pretty much gone before I realized I need to learn to assertively yell, "Don't touch that until I get a picture!" without sounding like a crazy person.

It was good.  Now I am letting the remaining dough sit for a couple days, because I want to fairly test how it alters as it ages - instructions say it will last 2 weeks, taking on the characteristics of sourdough.... we'll see!

If you want to give this a go, Mother Earth has a comprehensive article with the basic recipe and a few variants.  For my first try, I used bread flour and 1 1/2 c. whole wheat flour and I am looking forward to trying more whole grains.   Time will tell if I stick with this enough to justify th expense of the cookbooks... but I'm tentatively thinking that I can get back to regular bread making using this method.

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