After giving away so many loaves on the weekend, I was left with little bread again (half a loaf of that surprisingly tasty 100% rye, which will no doubt disappear quickly).
A friend asked me the other day if I had any good bread recipes that her daughter might try. I always tell people to start with the Artisan Bread in Five Minutes a Day recipes, and see how they like baking bread. From there, it is easy enough to try something more adventuresome. I usually point them to the following videos and links to learn enough to just try it, to see how simple it is to make good bread:
The YouTube video by the authors of 'Artisan Bread in Five Minutes a Day' -- the easiest and quickest method (no-knead, mix it in one bowl) I've found. Watch the video, it is less than 5 minutes, it has the whole technique and recipe and yes, it is that easy.
Their second book "Healthy Bread in Five Minutes a Day' has a video too. The book has many more whole grain recipes. If you like the results of the artisan bread, I suggest trying the whole wheat Master recipe next.
And of course, the main web site of the 5min/day Authors has other videos and recipes one can try too.
I was thinking that I hadn't made any of the 5 min/day bread for some time, and while I was casting about for a recipe to make, I just tossed together the ingredients for the Master Recipe from Healthy Bread in Five Minutes a Day and forgot about it. It sat out maybe 5 hours (should have been only 2) while I tried to get back to sleep. Then it was refrigerated. So perhaps the yeast was a bit sluggish when I finally went to bake.
This morning I didn't have much time to fiddle with it (am building a tool shed/chicken hut in the backyard under the supervision and with the help of my friend David). I decided to try an experiment, though. I'd bake it on the barbecue, using the double-stone method I've been trying lately. I wasn't sure how much time the dough would need though, at 600+ degrees.
Shaping the dough was problematic. It was too gooey. I ended up putting my hands in water so the dough wouldn't stick to it, and I may have changed the hydration a bit too much when I did so. Also, perhaps the dough hadn't been refrigerated long enough -- less than 2 hours.
I had the bread on the stone ready to turn on the barbecue when I realized I had no propane. I had used up an entire tank when I needed to cure my new cast iron pot the other day. So on to plan B: I'd bake my hbin5 bread in the oven. Actually, my wife popped it in for me. I had no time to come in and score it or put water and seeds on the top. It would be just plain bread.
I brought the stone in from the barbecue and put it in the stove cold. Much later, after the bread was baked, I noticed that the stone had cracked in two. With any luck I should be able to still use it in the barbecue.
But the dough failed to rise, it just drooped as it baked. I consider this yabf ("yet another bread failure"), but my wife loves the taste. She even took some to her mom today to give to her. It is not a bread I want to show anyone, and I am still suspicious of the Vital Wheat Gluten ingredient, thinking it defeats some of the benefits of having whole wheat. But hey. At least I have something to eat.
Notes to Myself:
- Mise en place should extend to the propane you will use to bake with. Make certain you have everything on hand before you begin
- What would happen if you oiled the stone before trying this technique (i.e. putting a cold stone with a fully risen bread on it into the oven)? Would the oiled stone smoke? What oil might have the best smoking point for a hot oven?
- What if you didn't include the all purpose flour?
- What if you didn't include the vital wheat gluten?
- What if you used a different liquid than water? (What if you used carbonated water?)
- What if you baked this dough in a pot like Lahey's recipe?
- For the rest of the dough you made last night, try oiling a bowl, letting it rise there, and turning it out at the last moment before baking onto a hot stone, if you can spatula it out in one piece.