No Fail Bread
Reader Stephanie offered to send me a no fail bread idea when she heard of my failed attempts at bread making! I, of course, said yes. I think this bread would be a great addition to your Easter dinner. And apparently, you can’t fail at it! That’s the best news I have heard all day.
No Fail Bread
I love bread. And I love to bake bread. I’ve been baking bread for years. I love the smell of bread rising and even more once it comes out of the oven. But, let’s be practical, hauling out the stand mixer to bake bread everyday – or even once a week – isn’t likely to happen in my house.
I had to get a bit creative this winter, too, due to our incredible weather. My kitchen was so cold that I might as well have been putting bread in the fridge to rise – which, of course, you can do but it generally takes overnight. I read somewhere that you could let your bread rise in your crockpot [heat your crockpot covered on HIGH for 5 mins then unplug and put your dough inside] and this did work well. But I still had the hassle of making the dough.
Then I read about Artisan Bread in Five Minutes a Day: The Discovery That Revolutionizes Home Baking and I gave it a try. The gist of this method is that you put the bread ingredients into a bucket, let it rise at room temperature for a couple of hours, then put the bucket in the refrigerator until you’re ready to use it. The initial measuring and stiring takes around five minutes the first day.
So, you really just throw flour and stuff in a bucket? Yep! You can buy dough proofing buckets from King Arthur Flour or off Amazon and these will work and last forever but they’ll cost you almost $2o. When I started this I wasn’t willing to invest that in case I failed. That’s when I found that the bakery in my neighborhood sells the buckets that the icing comes in once they’re done. I bought one and it works great although it does take up a significant portion of my fridge. This bucket is actually big enough for a double recipe!
My new ‘bucket’ that I’m using is actually a plastic shoe box that I found at the dollar store. Not only is it the perfect size but it fits perfectly on the bottom shelf of my fridge. So, my total expenditure for dough buckets has been $3.50.
How much time does it take to have great bread each day? It might take a bit more than five minutes with the dough but not much. When you are ready for bread you pull your bucket out of the fridge, dust the top of the dough with flour, grab the size of dough you need [depending on loaf you're making], and then you fold the edges under to activate the gluten and shape your loaf. The book does an amazing job of going through each step and providing different bread recipes that will just make your mouth water. Personally, I’ve had better luck with the master recipe. My sandwich bread and Brioche recipe were totally delicious but not the most attractive loaves of bread but in the no fail bread mantra, I’ll try again and next time use a bit more flour when I shape the loaves. The dough needs to rest to come to room temperature a bit then you put it in the oven.
My bread is not as ‘artisan crusty’ as the pictures in the book or the website and that’s because I don’t use steam or a pizza stone as suggested only because I don’t care for overly crusty loaves. Just know that you can bake the bread to be as crusty as you prefer. This master recipe works just as well in a loaf pan, too. I did it as boules today because smaller loaves take less time to bake and I was using the counter top convection oven to save energy. However, some of the breads will require a loaf pan – like the brioche.
What do I like best about Artisan Bread in Five Minutes a Day? I love that even my ugly loaves of bread tasted wonderful! I also love that the bread recipes work for so many things. The master recipe makes boule bread, baguettes, pizza, fancy pain d’Epi, sandwich loaf, bruschetta, dinner rolls, calzones, stromboli, focaccia, and pita. Many of the other bread recipes can also do double, or triple duty, in other recipes. I love this kind of thing! It’s perfect for busy people and means that even if you don’t have the ‘right’ kind of dough in the fridge there’s still a chance that it’ll work for you.
What kind of bread did I make today? This is boule from the Master Recipe. I made 3 small loaves to take to a community dinner. I still have enough dough left in my bucket for us to have a couple of pizzas later this week for dinner and isn’t that a Cool Idea!
Stephanie lives with her family in Richmond, VA and blogs about living smart, being accountable and funny things her kids say at What A Cool Idea!