So, my first foray into Urban Homesteading came by way of another conversation with Crazy Friend.
In preparation for her proposed Give Civilization the Finger, she’s been reading up on just about everything DYI.
One particularly promising idea came from a book she’d borrowed from the library.
Artisan bread in Five Minutes a Day.
Kind of like 8-Minute Abs, but better, since it involves lovely, lovely carbs and a singular lack of sweaty spandex.
Anyhow, I did some digging on the internet and found not only the Master Recipe (posted below) but also this handy video.
What could be more simple, right?
If you’re waiting for the other shoe to drop, it won’t. This was just as easy and delicious as promised.
Anyhow, the recipe:
1 1/2 tbsp dry active yeast
1 1/2 tsp kosher salt
3 cups warm water
6 1/2 cups flour
* In a large, lidded (but not air-tight) container, mix the first three ingredients.
* Slowly stir in the flour and mix until there are no dry flour spots left. Kneading is unnecessary.
* Cover and set aside to rise for 2 – 5 hours, depending on how long it takes for the dough to rise to the point of collapse.
* Refrigerate, for up to two weeks if you’re not using the dough right away. If you are…
* Dust your hands with lots of flour.
* With a serrated knife, cut off a grapefruit sized portion of dough and form into a ball (the video is good for technique). Add flour to hands and outside of ball if it gets to sticky.
* On a pizza stone well dusted with flour or cornmeal, place dough and let sit for 40 minutes in a warm place (I put mine in the oven after having turned on my oven for a few seconds, then turning it right back off again).
* Place bread on middle rack and an ovenproof dish on the bottom rack. Pour 1 cup water into dish.
*Bake in a 450* oven for ~30 minutes or until the top is firm and golden brown.
My only two disappointments are:
When my friend described this process to me, it sounded like you always start with the basic recipe, keep it in your fridge, then take it out and add to it should you want something a little more interesting. Raisin bread. Rosemary loaf. Whatever.
It doesn’t quite work that way. You sort of have to plan what you want ahead of time.
Second problem: The recipe, like most out there, involves using white flour, which I loathe.
I can experiment with it, of course, but I’ve never had good luck making bread with any of the flours I commonly use. The layer of dust on my breadmaker can attest to that.