Today we learn how to bake bread the Artisan Bread way. I picked up Zoe Francois and Jeff Hertzberg’s great book, Artisan Bread in Five Minutes a Day, after reading about it in Alexandra Stafford’s food blog Alexandra Cooks. So we fired up the Gardenfork kitchen to see what would happen. Baking bread is not hard, even I can do it. Watch here and see how we make bread based on Zoe and Jeff’s concept, which is a bit like Jim Leahy’s No Knead Bread, but different. I like what they are doing to spread the word about making your own food.
Plus, you save money when you bake your own bread. Read what Alexandra says, here’s an excerpt from her blog:
So, what does one of these loaves cost to prepare? Using the price of flour given by the American Farm Bureau — a 5-lb. bag of flour costs on average $2.39 — and prices for yeast and salt listed at Henry’s Market — a 3-lb. pound box of kosher salt costs $3.49 and a three-pack of yeast costs $2.39 — a one-pound loaf of homemade artisan bread costs about 60 cents to prepare from scratch. (Flour costs about 3 cents per ounce; yeast, 35 cents per teaspoon; and salt, 1 cent per teaspoon.) Using Henry’s Market prices, too, this estimate of 60 cents is likely on the high side.
The average price of a loaf of La Brea bread is almost nine times more expensive. Even the cheapest loaf of bakery-style bread, priced at $1.29 a pound, costs over twice as much as a loaf of homemade bread. Upon closer analysis it seems the man who called into the radio program actually might be on to something.
Even if saving money is not your goal, however, give this recipe a stab purely to experience how truly simple bread making at home can be. I’m dying to try other recipes in this book such as roasted red pepper fougasse, Italian semolina, and sun-dried tomato parmesan but for now, I’m extremely happy with the results of this master boule: It’s perfectly salty, moist and airy and delectable all around.
What do you think? Can you bake your own bread in this modern crazy world? Watch us try.
Here is the basic recipe as adapted by me, the Artisan Bread book has a ton more stuff in it, you should go buy it.
3 cups warm water
1 1/2 tablespoons yeast
1 1/2 tablespoons coarse salt
6 1/2 cups all purpose unbleached flour
In a large plastic food container with a lid, add together the water, yeast and salt
mix this up, then add in the flour, mix together.
all the flour needs to be wet, but no over-mixed
place this container in a warm area and let it rise for 2 hours,
then you can use some of the dough,
or better yet,
put the container in the refrigerator overnight, the dough will have a better flavor.
pull off a hunk of the dough, shape it into a ball, let it rise on parchment paper in a bowl for 40 minutes,
preheat the oven with the dutch oven and lid in the oven at 450F
when you are ready to put the dough in the dutch oven, use a razor blade to slice a few lines through the top of the ball of dough
take out the dutch oven, place the parchement paper with the dough in the dutch oven.
put in oven for 30 minutes,
then remove lid of dutch oven, and bake for about 20 minutes more.
bread should have a hollow sound when thumped when it is done.