Dec 29, 2009

My First Artisan Loaves

Here's my first update on the bread-making adventure:

Unfortunately, it never occurred to me to take a picture of my first loaf on Sunday, and the rolls last night all got eaten up, so I don't have anything to show you. However . . .

I'm a believer!

The 5-minute method really works. It's super easy to cut off some dough, shape it, let it rise, and bake it. I've just been using a baking pan with parchment and it's worked fine, although I do want to experiment with the different suggestions I've gotten. Thank you for the comments and emails!

The best part, of course, is that the bread is amazing – there's a very crunchy crust, and a soft, chewy crumb (that's what the authors call the interior). I'd been worried that the crust would be too tough for the boys, but they devoured 1 1/2 rolls each last night. The authors say repeatedly that the bread should be allowed to cool completely before cutting but I don't know if that'll ever happen in this house. The warm bread with butter is just so alluring.

I realized on Sunday night, after I'd baked my first loaf, that this bread just might be my savior when the boys are older. I've already mentioned that I can see the day when they're eating machines, and I'm thinking that a fresh loaf of bread (each!) will probably keep their tummies full and content. Homemade bread is pretty cheap to make – I'll have to break down the price sometime, just to see exactly how cheap.

I found a giant plastic food storage container that was part of a set we received as a gift a couple of years ago, and it's serving me well as the perfect dough container in the fridge. It's big enough to hold a full 6-3-3-13 recipe, if we end up eating that much bread. (For the first batch, I followed the master recipe in the book, which calls for half of the 6-3-3-13 amounts.)

Once I've got the master recipe down, I'm going to try some of the other recipes in the book, which call for different types of flour. And I'm sure that I'll eventually pick up the authors' new book Healthy Bread in Five Minutes a Day: 100 New Recipes Featuring Whole Grains, Fruits, Vegetables, and Gluten-Free Ingredients.I prefer whole grains, and I would prefer that my children eat whole grains too. Especially if they're eating a whole loaf a day!

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Kristia @Family Balance Sheet said...

I also received this book for Christmas, but haven't tried it yet. I plan on making it sometime this weekend. I don't have an oven thermometer though, and the book suggests it.

Kathy Rambousek said...

Can you post your recipe? I'd love to try it!

Chief Family Officer said...

@Kristia - I haven't used my oven thermometer, but I do know that my oven runs hot so I've just lowered the temp. If you know your oven and are a decent baker, or are just willing to experiment a bit, I don't think an oven thermometer is an absolute necessity. On the other hand, they are pretty cheap.

@Kathy - The ratios you need are in this post. Since the recipe isn't on the Artisan Bread site because they want you to buy the book, I'm not comfortable reproducing the recipe in its entirety here.