I’m now back in Chicago. My vacation has ended and unfortunately I am still suffering from a sinus infection. At least now that I am home I can begin my job hunt. In the meantime, I have begun making my own bread. My sister-in-law showed me this great book called Artisan Bread in Five Minutes a Day that I have started producing bread with.
This is the easiest recipe that I tried out so far. If you get the book it shows you how to make all of these great varieties of bread. Definitely pick it up if you think bread-making is your hobby!
So the recipe is fairly simple. You just grab a 5-quart container, 1 1/2 packs of yeast or 1 1/2 tablespoons of active yeast, 3 cups of water, 1 1/2 tablespoons of salt, and 6 1/2 cups of plain ol’ flour. According to their rules you don’t even need to knead it! You just mix everything together until it’s wet, and let it rise in a covered – non-airtight – container for 2 hours or more and then after that you can start baking. I grabbed a grapefruit sized ball of dough, threw some flour on it, and then stretched it into a ball shape to rest. After it rests for about a half hour you need to slice a few cuts in the top and scoot it onto a baking stone that has been preheating in an oven to 450° – along with this you also want to put a dish to steam 1 cup of water near a boiler. Steaming the bread will apparently make the outside nice and crusty. After another half hour your bread should be done! My first one had some trouble – It looks like a volcano. The second one turned out much better!
Once you make this batch of dough you can keep it for at least two weeks and the yeast will continue to work. If you’re a dork like me you can give your dough a name (I read professional bakers often name their sourdough yeast). I named mine Louis I in tribute to all those French leaders I have read about in the past month. As you can imagine there are a few more to come soon. So far it looks like my batch makes about 3 loaves, but I think it depends on how warm your house is while cooking because my dough didn’t rise as much as Amy’s.
So here’s my first food entry. I have another that’s pending. I attempted to make homemade mac and cheese with some epic failure. Once I get that picture I will post for all of you mac and cheesers. Good luck with your bread dearies!!!
Also, if you’re interested in going further with your bread making I discovered a wonderful article written at a site I like called Chocolate & Zucchini. Here they go through how to create your own natural starter. Check it out if you would like: http://chocolateandzucchini.com/archives/2009/07/natural_starter_bread.php