For some reason, I’m all about homemade bread these days. I think the catalyst was the sourdough starter I used recently. Once I made that bread, I kind of wanted to make more. And then, I heard the authors of a new bread book on NPR, and that was the end. I was hooked on making fresh bread.
The key detail about these people I heard on NPR was that their book is called Healthy Bread in 5 Minutes a Day. 5 minutes a day? I’m in. Apparently their technique is relatively new and is now kind of exploding within bread-making circles. It’s a no-knead technique (again, I’m in) that allows you to make enough dough to keep in the refrigerator for up to 2 weeks, just taking some out and letting it rest and then baking it.
I immediately ordered the book and baked my first loaf of bread from it the other day. I chose the “Soft Whole Wheat Sandwich Bread” since it claimed that this bread would be what my kids wanted everyday in their lunchbox. And I gotta tell you, this bread is AMAZING. And so easy!!!
Making the dough basically involves just mixing the dry ingredients and adding the wet. That’s it. No kneading. No punching. You don’t even need a mixer.
It took about 90 seconds of mixing to get it all together, and then I just had to let it rest before putting it in the fridge. Nothing simpler!
The book said that the dough was easier to handle after being refrigerated, so I stuck it in there, even though you can bake it right after it rises, too. To bake, you take a hunk of dough, quickly shape it into an oval, then put it in a loaf pan. You let it rise 90 minutes and then stick it in the oven.
I have to figure out a better angle or something to show the rising. These photos are pretty weak.
So, then, baking.
First of all, the smell. IS. FABULOUS. I think this is what it must smell like in heaven: baking bread. (I would be supported by that episode of M*A*S*H where Charles gets obsessed with death and heads to the front to watch a soldier die. ”I smell bread…” Anyone else out there a M*A*S*H junkie?)
Second of all, the bread is delicious. The crumb (fancy bread talk for the inside of the bread) was nice and moist, and the crust was crisp but not TOO hard. The kids loved it, and indeed, I sent it to school with the 6 year old.
Sorry about the poor quality of this photo, too– I set my f-stop too low, for those of you in photography circles.
Next up? Whole wheat oatmeal maple bread. Doesn’t that sound divine?