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Monday, August 3, 2009

Artisan Bread in 5 Minutes

I love having fresh bread with dinner, but as a general rule I forget how long it takes to make. So I initiate my efforts when I start making dinner and am still slaving away when midnight rolls around. Suffice it to say, we don't have fresh bread very often.

When my sweet friend Lauren came to town a few weeks back, her husband brought along two beautiful loaves of homemade bread for the eatin' part of our visit. He must have known there is no better way to butter me up than to bring me some home-baked deliciousness. I instantly decided he was a good catch.

When Derek told me his recipe only took 5 minutes to make I knew I would have to try it out for myself. And lo and behold, he was telling the truth. Thanks to Derek and this Artisan Bread recipe, the Leipprandts enjoyed some freshly baked bread with our lasagna (it's the last one I swear) this week.

Here's what you need:
Water, salt, yeast, flour, cornmeal, a pizza peel and a baking stone 

Mixing this bread up is where the "5 minutes" part comes in. It really could not be any easier.

Throw your yeast in the bowl (do you see the black spot in this picture? Where do I get my camera lens cleaned?!?)

Add some salt 

Add your slightly warmed water

Dump in the flour all at once, don't bother stirring in between cups (I LOVE this recipe!)

Now start stirring... and don't stop until it looks like this.

Now cover your dough with plastic wrap, but don't make it airtight.

Let the dough rise for 2 hours. After 2 hours, you can start baking! Or...if you started at 8pm like I did, it's time for bed. Pop your bowl in the fridge (where it can stay for up to 14 days) and we'll start baking tomorrow. If you just can't wait, check out the baking day process HERE.

Artisan Bread in 5 Minutes - Makes 4 1 lb loaves (recipe is easily doubled or halved)

3 cups lukewarm water
1.5 Tbsp yeast
1.5 Tbsp salt
6 1/2 cups all-purpose flour

Add yeast and salt to the lukewarm water in a large non-metallic bowl. Stir to dissolve and then add flour gradually, stirring until fully incorporated. You may need to use your hands to be sure all the flour gets mixed in.

Cover bowl with a clean towel and let rise in a warm place for 2 hours. After two hours you can refrigerate until you are ready to bake or begin baking.

If you want to bake right away the dough will be sticky and difficult to handle, so the first time you attempt the recipe it is best to use dough that has been refrigerated overnight (or at least 3 hours) before shaping a loaf.

Editor's Note: I have since made this bread countless times and am happy to report it holds up if you substitute whole wheat flour for some of the white flour. So far I have used 2 cups whole wheat and 4.5 cups white flour...but I'll be gradually stepping it up to see how far I can take it!

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