Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Let them eat Light Whole Wheat Bread!

I made that!

Some time back in the beginning of the year, I started making all our bread. Sure, we've had to grab a loaf or two from the store along the way, but 99% of the bread we've had in our house this year has been homemade. After a long, hard look at the ingredient list on our favorite breads, we decided we'd rather not eat things like calcium proponate (can also be used as a pesticide) and azodicarbonamide (banned as a food additive in Europe, but you can still find it in gym mats and shoe soles). I boldly announced I would make all our bread. How tough can it be?

First, I got all up close and personal with the bread machine and we were total BFFs. I know, I know...some people think using a bread machine is cheating. In the heat of summer, though, a bread machine is a life saver--who wants to crank up the oven when it's already sweltering outdoors? And, yes, I'm letting a machine do all the kneading for me, but I still have control over what goes in the loaves and that's the goal here. Plus, if I'm going to be honest, all the kneading and rising of traditional bread making kind of intimidates me and using the machine allows me to revel in the success of homemade bread without having to actually man up to my irrational fear of preparing yeast-based breads.

Things have changed, though...

I still use the machine to make pizza dough, but our day-to-day bread recipes come from the most fabulous bread cookbook I've ever laid eyes on: Artisan Bread in Five Minutes a Day by Jeff Hertzberg and Zoe Francois. Sounds too good to be true, but it's not. It really takes five minutes. Just stir the ingredients together, let it rise, and then stick it in the fridge. When you need a loaf (or a sticky bun or a dinner roll), pull off the amount of dough you need, let it rise, and pop it in the oven. Five little minutes...and the bread is delicious. And I can pronounce all the ingredients. And even if I buy organic flour, I'm still coming in at around a dollar a loaf. The website for the book (artisanbreadinfive.com) has tons of tips and videos that help even a scaredy cat like me conquer the loaf and keep my family fed.

Not bad.

Not bad at all.

Pretty darn awesome, actually.

...and I'd give you the recipe, but you really need this book. Plus, it's copyrighted and I haven't adapted it at all because the recipe is perfect. Kristina at The Former Chef got permission to reprint one of the Master Recipes here: click. She does her loaves on a baking sheet, but I have had great success using a 9x5 loaf pan. Great recipes, flexible methods...are you getting how exciting this is?

So, go get a copy. Grab one at the library. Tell Santa you want it. Or the Thankgiving fairy. He's a kind and generous fairy, right?

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