We all know homemade bread is the best for your family. When you make the bread, you can control what goes in it! You include quality ingredients, and the ultimate in freshness. But sometimes (OK, most of the time), I don't have TIME for homemade bread. At the rate my family eats bread, I just can't keep up.
Well, introducing, ARTISAN BREAD!! My love affair started last Saturday night, when Wade and I went on a date. Our date consisted of diet coke and bread from a local artisan bread bakery (Flour Girls and Dough Boys), We bought a loaf of cranberry walnut artisan bread to share. The only ingredients were: Whole Wheat Flour, salt, water, dried cranberries, and walnuts. "Hmmmm," I said to him, "I could totally make that! Right?"
So, I got home and found this youtube video created by the Writers of "Artisan Bread in 5 Minutes a day" (A book I just borrowed from my sister in law). If the video doesn't feed through Google Reader, click over cause there is a video right below this text).
So, here is the beauty of it.. No Kneading! No Kitchen Aid! No Bread Machine! Super easy, You barely mix together the ingredients, and let it rise! Then Bake. Really, if making bread has scared you before, I am not kidding that this is the easiest bread you will EVER Make!!!
So, I made it exactly as the video describes first, with all white flour. And of course, my family was thrilled because it was delicious. Photo is pre-cooked.
But then I tried it a second time with 100% whole wheat flour, and it turned out just as well!! I never went in between. Never tried half whole wheat and half white. You can try that if you like, but I didn't. So, final product was literally, this easy..
3 Cups Warm water
1 1/2 TBL salt
1 TBL yeast
6 1/2 Cups whole wheat flour (or a blend of white and wheat for softer bread)
Mix in very large bowl, JUST UNTIL ALL FLOUR IS WET! Cover loosely with saran wrap and walk away. Seriously, walk away for 2 hours.
Shape into 4 grapefruit size balls, and leave on a cookie sheet (sprinkled with corn meal). Let rise another 40 minutes. (At this point I decided to shove some pecans and craisins into ONE of my loaves for fun)
Here is the secret. Preheat an oven to 450. Put a pan on the bottom rack, and a Basking stone on the middle rack (if you have one. I got rid of mine because I literally could not stand to touch it). Slide loaves onto middle cookie sheet then pour water into bottom pan. Then close oven quickly. The steam will get trapped in your oven. Cook for 20-30 minutes, or until brown on top.
I can not emphasize enough how easy this is. I don't know if I will ever knead bread again. And it made great sandwich bread, great toast bread, and great just plain.. MMMMm