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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