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This versatile recipe makes a soft, wholesome bread with a fine crumb. It's perfect for dinner rolls, shaped loaves, and slicing with jam or honey. Enjoy!
Cook Time: 35-45 minutes
Total Time: 2 hours
Yield: 2-3 shaped loaves or 2 dozen rolls
Source: I tweaked a standard French bread recipe over the years until the loaf was more nutritious, had a soft crust, and kept longer. A good recipe for true French bread is in The Secrets of Jesuit Breadmaking (1995) by Brother Rick Curry, S.J.
Tip: My mother told me to never use a plastic bowl or spoon when baking bread. Heavy duty ceramic is my favorite. Steel and glass also produce good results.
While looking into recipes online one day, I came across a review of a book "Artisan Bread In 5 Minutes A Day." On the author's site they give some of their basic recipes so I know it is fine to share. I was really skeptical at first, if it would even work. I am an avid bread machine user and like it, but I have tried this method more than once and I love the result of the breads. I have make different varieties and they turn out really nice. I feel it is worth mentioning here because for the small amount of ingredients you put in, you get out so much out. It works out great and more importantly cheap.
The idea is to take basic bread ingredients, mix them up in a bucket, and have them waiting in the fridge (raw) and ready for when you need bread. For up to two weeks. You will need a bucket, yes a bucket with a lid, is in fact the most important part. it does not have to be fancy, but perhaps something you have or can get at the home improvement store. Mine is from the Chinese market and had tofu in it. It probably holds about a gallon of water.
The basic bread dough recipe (AKA Master Bread) makes 4 loaves.
NO KNEADING! I love it! You cover your bucket but leave it cracked to let gas escape. Then put it on your counter for two hours. This allows the dough to double in size. After two hours you put the whole thing in the refrigerator and you can use it up to two weeks. The longer it sits the more it takes on sourdough qualities.
When you bake it, you do at 450 degrees F and you use some kind of stone pan or cast iron sheet (that's what I use). There have been reports of people cracking their pizza stones so take caution. Also you want a cookie sheet in the base of the oven for which you take 1/2 cup of water and pour it in after you put the dough in the oven and close the door. It should be the last thing you do. This crisps the outer crust giving it that true artisan quality.
The first time I made it, I immediately did the typical bread that this author is doing in his videos, the round loaf. It turns out that the longer you let it sit, the larger the air holes inside will be. I recommend around 30-40 minutes of rest on a bed of cornmeal and then in the 450 degree F oven, dump the 1/2 cup of water on the cookie sheet, and close the door fast so the steam does its magic.
After the first delicious and simple loaf, I made 8 rolls, 1 Italian loaf with sesame seeds, and cinnamon buns. All from the same bucket. It lasted two days in my house. Now that I have been doing it for a few months it last longer.
The only last thing I can say about this very fun recipe is, watch his videos and learn how he takes out the dough because its very wet and you need to use additional flour to pull the dough out of the bucket and form it into a ball. if you are fast and have worked with dough before you will take to it like nothing.
I suggest his site anyway for other great master recipes for desert doughs or healthy and organic doughs. These are very pricey breads at the store now made for nearly nothing and in a few minutes. I hardly buy rolls anymore if I need them for dinner I let them rise for a couple minutes while I'm cooking, and they are great. Oh, and you can use it for pizza dough too! Enjoy.
By gina from Collegeville, PA
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This absolutely delicious bread recipe has only four ingredients and is super easy to make. I made it for a get together and everyone loved it so much that they asked me to have a class on it. There's no kneading and no waiting forever!
Mix all ingredients together in a large tub/container that has a lid. Let sit overnight to rise. When ready to use, preheat oven to 450 degrees F. Sprinkle flour on top of bread so it won't be really sticky.
Take a grapefruit size of dough and shape it like a mushroom by starting with the center and folding the bread down to the bottom. Place on greased pan. With a serrated knife, make slits in the top and sprinkle with flour. Cook in oven for 30 to 40 minutes. Enjoy with fresh butter.
|Servings:||about 4 loaves|
|Time:||15 Minutes Preparation Time|
30-40 Minutes Cooking Time
Source: I got this recipe from the book, Artisan Bread in Five Minutes a Day.
By Becca from Bellflower, CA
I'd like to try this but am totally confused by: "shape it like a mushroom by starting with the center and folding the bread down to the bottom." Can someone explain that further? (02/17/2010)
I make this bread too, have the book. I wish I could get across to people how easy it is. To try and answer your question, mymagicword, it is like this. Pick up the lump of dough and make sure you have floured hands and stretch the dough around the side and under pulling from the center out. Don't worry the first time if you don't get it shaped so well. It it so good you won't notice that it is not shaped perfect. You will get onto it in time.
My favorite is the Deli Rye bread. So flavorful! The same authors have a new book out now and it is called "Healthy Bread in 5 Minutes". I want it because it has all the recipes that are better for you. The cheapest place to buy it that I have found is online at www.overstock.com
This is one I tried using the the Challah recipe, which is a Jewish bread, not Jewish but it was really good. (02/17/2010)
Your recipe sounds good and easy. I figure on making only one loaf at a time. How long can the rest of the bread dough sit in covered bowl before you have to use it up? (02/18/2010)
Hold the dough in both hands, fingers underneath and thumbs on top. Rotate your hands away from each other. This stretches the dough from top to bottom. Turn it 1/4 turn and repeat. If sticky, sprinkle flour on dough and hands.
Do this for a minute. You still end up with a ball of dough. (02/20/2010)
By Vin Bruce
I have the same question as fihardy Should it be refrigerated to use on another day? Does it keep well after it's baked? Or would I be better off halving the recipe? (02/27/2010)
I don't mean to hijack Becka's post, but Monique, the poster is referring to dry yeast. I buy it in bulk and store it in refrigerator to keep it fresher.
For the rest of you who ask about shaping it, I would not worry too much if you don't understand the directions for that. Put it in the shape you want and it will come out fine. The object is to have a smooth top, no matter what shape you put it in, it will taste the same. Lol.
You can just break off a hunk and make it whenever you need it. Most of the recipes in the book can sit in the fridge for awhile, I think the least being 5 days. The deli rye can sit in the fridge for 2 weeks. But you can also freeze the dough if you see you are not going to use it up. You will just have to take the time to thaw it and let it raise, same as when you buy frozen bread in store.
I have a friend who thought she could not make bread till she bought this book. She called me up and then said "you have created a monster," meaning I have not bought a loaf of bread since I learned to make it this way.
Here is the deli rye. Also, to get the hard crust on the outside and soft in the middle the author of the book suggests you bake it on a cooking stone or as some call it, a pizza stone. And it is recommended that you put a cup of water on the rack in the oven to steam it.