It’s been a while since I posted and I have been lagging behind on my Grocery Project but I have my reciepts and will get them on here as soon as I can. I think since there are so many to catch up on, I’ll do a post of links and just give the total in a subsequent post. Onto the real business at hand – bread!
I’ve been reading about “5 minutes a day” bread since the days of the Tightwad Gazette. It is possible to quickly mix up a wet bread dough, let it rise, then stick it in the fridge for up to two weeks, pulling out as much dough as you need for that day’s baking needs. The dough is versatile enough to make rolls, sandwich bread, pizza dough, and pita pockets with just a little adjustment in the technique after you remove what you need from the fridge. But after a disastrous attempt at yeast cinnamon rolls a few years ago, I got it stuck in my head that yeast bread is difficult and I didn’t want to mess with it further and not even the allegedly idiot-proof fridge dough method could draw me into trying again.
My skill in the kitchen has come a long way since then, it’s damn difficult to find commercial bread without additives we don’t eat, and fresh bread is criminally tasty so I thought it was time to try the fridge method at long last. Many online recipes I found called for instant potato flakes. Ummmm…no. But I saw a book in the King Arthur catalog called “Artisan Bread in Five Minutes a Day” and figured (correctly) that Amazon would have it cheaper.
The book is great. There isn’t just one master recipe but several depending on which kind of bread you think you’ll make most often. It was hard to pick one to try first but our dedication to whole grains and two children who love sandwiches left us with “Whole Wheat Sandwich Bread” as the first candidate. I mixed up the dough last night and stuck it in the fridge after the initial rise. It was the easiest bread dough to make since you don’t need to proof the yeast or knead the dough. I mixed it with a regular spoon in a plastic bowl in just a few minutes. This morning I pulled out enough to make one loaf, let it rest in the pan, and popped it in the oven to cook.
The verdict is DELICIOUS! The texture is moist but firm and will easily hold up to a butter knife and a gob of peanut butter. The crust is firm but not so chewy and hard that a four year old would demand crust removal. The taste is out of this world. I had a slice with butter and my sister’s pomegranate jelly and it was a total tastegasm. Hands-on time was minimal and it wasn’t at all a bother to tend to the bread today during my regular work day. Took less time than a typical coffee break so I can see us working more homemade bread into our routine. It’s truthfully easy enough for my 12-year-old to handle by himself. And the best part is that the entire list of ingredients is blessedly short: flour, water, honey, yeast, and salt.