Jan 15, 2010

Artisan Bread Update: Still lovin' it!

Background: For Christmas, I received a book about making artisan bread in five minutes a day. You can read my progress thus far here, in reverse chronological order.

I've been baking bread almost every day for nearly three weeks now, but I feel like an old pro in some ways. I've been making one batch of dough every week, and that's about how long it lasts. This week, I'm going to make two batches of dough so it lasts longer.

I have a few different updates:

Pizza dough: I used the master recipe as pizza dough last week, and I thought it was just okay. The dough rose more than I like, since I prefer very thin pizza crust. It was still good, but I prefer my usual pizza dough recipe. However, this one is easier by far since I just have to pull the dough out of the fridge. I may make a batch of the olive oil version for our next homemade pizza night.

Pizza wheels: Speaking of pizza, over at the Artisan Bread web site, they have a recipe for pizza on a stick. It looks like a cinnamon roll, but made with pizza ingredients instead. The notes at the end made me realize that these would be fabulous to keep in the freezer for the kids' lunches. I'm sure you could do the exact same thing with any pizza dough, including the store-bought kind.

Brioche: Since the first disappointing loaf of brioche, I've baked two more loaves from the same batch of dough and they both came out beautifully. Now that I've had a little more experience, I think my first loaf was too big, didn't bake long enough even though it was a beautiful golden color, and perhaps rose too long. I love this dough so much, in fact, that I'm determined to keep some in my freezer at all times!

Whole wheat bread: I haven't made the 100% whole wheat bread yet, but I did substitute in some white whole wheat flour for the unbleached all purpose flour in the master recipe and it's totally fine.

Proper rising and steam do make a difference: On weeknights, when I'm more rushed, I tend to make small rolls, cut rising times short, and bake in my toaster oven without steam. The bread that comes out is fine, but not superb. The bread I make on weekends, with a full 40-minute rise, and baked with steam, is definitely better. The crust is more crisp and the crumb is lighter. Plus, I make full size loaves, which we do prefer. Still, there is nothing like having freshly baked bread on the table every night!

I love this book!

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Some Lucky Dog said...

After your experience, I'm convinced. I'll be getting this book next time I'm at the bookstore. We don't eat a lot of bread. When we buy it I end up throwing part of the loaf out. Hopefully, I can learn to make a batch so that it's the right amount for us. I'm guessing, though, that we'll eat it more often when we know we can have it freshly baked!

Lisa said...

Did you buy new baking pans or are you using what you have? I am giving this a try by checking it out from the library.
I've been getting bread from the local overstock breadstore, but am curious if homemade bread would be well received.
Thanks for sharing your experience!

Maranda said...

I would love to see some pictures of the bread you are making. It sounds absolutely wonderful! I want to get the book for my husband. He's really big on fresh bread. We have two bread makers because of it. I was wondering about your pizza dough. How did it cook. You said that it was thicker than you like but was it crispy like at the restaurants? Or was it doughy? We tend to make a lot of pizza in our house so if I know that the dough is crispier and lighter than what we've been making I think it would convince him to use the book.