Monday, January 19, 2009

That Artisan Bread Thing That's Going Around

It seems that many of my regular reads have recently discovered and used the "Artisan Bread in Five Minutes A Day" recipe, made popular in the book of the same name. I'm not sure which blog I saw it on first, but eventually saw it on lots of blogs I read. It looked like something worth trying, and so with a free day today, I gave it a shot.

I used the recipe found here, and as it promises, it was easy, indeed! No kneading or anything! It looks like mine turned out pretty well, but the proof will be in the eating, and we'll try it tonight at supper.

There are only a couple of slight modifications I'd make. The crust looks pretty serious! Now I like a good crusty crust, but I have a feeling that eating this crust will be downright LOUD. Rosko suggested that for a toothier crust I could eliminate the steaming from the baking process and bring the temp down a bit. I may try this with our next loaf (the dough for which is, of course, in the refrigerator ready to go!)

Another thing I would do differently is cut back on the amount of corn meal I placed on the peel. The recipe said "a liberal amount" and I might have gone past liberal to "generous." So when putting the loaf into the oven to bake, I got a bit of corn meal on the bottom of the oven, which of course, instantly burned and stunk.

Finally, the recipe suggested that to bake a loaf, I cut a piece of dough off of the huge lump of dough which is about the size of a grapefruit. Well, I'm not certain how many folks come to the author's table, but the loaf looks a mite small for our family of 4 bread lovers. Next time I'll hack off a piece that is perhaps closer to the size of a cantaloupe.

For anyone who hasn't yet tried this recipe, and who may not have a baking stone, here's a tip: Several years ago we bought 4 cheap, unglazed ceramic tiles from the local home improvement store - and they work just the same way - and are alot cheaper than a baking stone!

So to all of you bloggers who talked this recipe up on your blogs, I extend my thanks. I think we're going to get some good use outta this!


-C said...

Having just gotten up from the supper table, I can announce that the bread was very good! Not at all too crusty, as I suspected.

Every piece of the bread went. Every. crumb.

This recipe's a keeper!

DebD said...

That bread looks excellent! Thanks for the tip about the unglazed tiles, I've always just used a regular baking sheet without problems.

-C said...

DearHusband saw that tip a number of years ago on some cooking program, so our tiles (4 of them pushed together) were already well-seasoned by the time I baked yesterday!

I shared the recipe yesterday with a good friend who was concerned that she didn't have a pizza peel (we actually had one of these already), and she's going to try using a flat baking sheet (no raised sides) to slide the loaf into the oven - I'm thinking that should work.

Mimi said...

I haven't done the water underneath yet, but love the way that it cooks.

Use that dough for everything.

s-p said...

That looks amazingly good. Let us know if you figure out how to get a "toothier crust" old teeth and gums can't handle much crunch any more. sigh....

-C said...

Steve - It IS amazingly good! We have had fresh bread for supper several nights this week - and I'm mixing together a new batch tonight!

Another commenter, Rosko, was absolutely right! Omit the pan of water and the crust is a bit more pliable - nice and toothy, but not too hard (or loud!).

Give it a shot - it doesn't get much easier than this!

s-p said...

Hi -C, We had bread three nights this week. WOW! The 400 degrees and no water yields a perfect chewy crust for my taste. Dip it warm in olive oil, pesto and balsamic vinegar and its as close to manna as I can imagine. :)

-C said...

Woo-hoo! We have all of those wonderful bloggers to thank for the tip!
Our family had some fresh bread with soup for supper tonight, too!