In an effort to save money while still eating healthfully, I thought I’d try making my own bread. Sure, you can find bread pretty cheap, but when it comes to whole grain bread the expensive stuff is way better tasting. Besides, if you could have homemade bread with about as much effort as it takes to go buy it, wouldn’t you? With that in mind, I purchased a copy of “Healthy Bread in Five Minutes a Day“. I had checked it out at the library and it looked like a good book to add to my collection. I have to admit I was skeptical of the title. No way could baking bread be that easy. But I was determined to give it a go.
The idea behind this method is that you make a large batch of wet dough that you store in the refrigerator. When you are ready to bake you just take off what you need to make your loaves, etc. Because the dough is very wet, the gluten aligns without having to knead it.
Here’s my first attempt. I made the 100% whole wheat bread with olive oil. The recipe called for the dough to be mixed in a 5 quart food safe container with a lid. Luckily, I had this empty ice cream bucket that fit the bill nicely. I was worried about getting all the flour to mix in by hand, but it was no trouble at all. In fact, it took me less than 5 minutes to mix the dough. Easy!
After the mixing you let the dough sit on the counter for 2 hours. It rises a lot! I was glad I had the right size container. After that you can use it right away or pop it in the fridge to use another day. I put mine in the fridge. This batch will make 4 1-pound loaves.
The next day I pulled the dough out of the fridge to shape and bake it. This picture is actually of my second loaf. The first I tried to do in a loaf pan and it turned out very sad. The dough was too wet and it slopped over the sides and burned. So I added a little flour to the original batch and made this free-form loaf the next day. I just cut off a bit, stretched the top (they tell you how to do this in the book), shaped it into an oval, and set it on parchment paper. It look me less than a minute! Then the bread rests for about an hour before baking. (The picture is pre-rest.) To bake, slide the bread onto a pre-heated baking stone.
Viola! Homemade healthy artisan bread! Sorry the pic is bad, the light was gone by the time I could take it. But it sure tasted good! And it really took me less than 5 minutes of active time each day. I’ve already finished this first batch of dough and I have a batch of 100% whole wheat and flaxseed bread dough waiting for me in the fridge. It really is as easy as it sounds!
Fresh baked bread every day, here I come!