There’s always a new one, isn’t there? No sooner have you mastered Bittman’s No-Knead Bread and played around with jars of starter for your own Sourdough than another intriguing bread recipe comes along. I discovered this one through the NZ FoodLovers Forum, found the recipe, and discovered the book that it comes from – Artisan Bread in Five Minutes a Day by Jeff Hertzberg and Zoë Francois – here.
Last Monday I mixed up the dough, cooked my first loaf on Tuesday evening and ate nearly half of the misshapen bread warm out of the oven. There was another, slightly larger, loaf cooked on Saturday and I made some little bread rolls to be filled with one-egg French Omelettes for supper today. Over time the flavour develops more of a sour tang – once I make more space in my fridge (there’s still a very useful jar of sourdough starter in there!) I’m looking forward to keeping some dough for a longer time and seeing how it progresses.
As usual, I’ve played around with the recipe. I had some of Shipton Mill‘s textured, seed-speckled Organic Three Malt and Sunflower Flour in the house so used it in combination with some strong flour and it worked well. Next time I’ll try to restrain myself and actually follow their instructions. I don’t have a pizza stone, though, so I just bake the bread on the tray it has been relaxing on for the last 40 minutes. Still haven’t gotten around to slashing it before baking either! I’ve written up the recipe with my own adaptations below but I I think there just might be a book purchase coming up…
Artisan Bread in Five Minutes a Day
Plain flour – 6½ cups (I used 3 cups of the Organic Three Malt and Sunflower Flour and 3½ cups strong flour. Why? Because it was the only other flour I had in the house!)
Dried yeast – 1½ tablespoons
Salt – 1½ tablespoons
Water – 3 cups, at room temperature
In a large bowl that will fit into your fridge, combine the flour, yeast and salt. Pour in the room temperature water then, with a clean hand, mix thoroughly.
Cover with a tea towel and allow to rise at room temperature until it starts collapsing back on itself. This should take between 2 and 5 hours but, with a cold house in wintertime, it may take up to 7 hours.
The dough is now ready to use. You can refrigerate it for up to 14 days, covering the bowl loosely with clingfilm, or bake it straightaway.
To bake: sprinkle the dough with flour and use a serrated knife to carve off enough for a loaf. The original recipe says to take a 1lb or grapefruit-sized piece each of four times. I used my dough in three bakings. However much you use, re-cover the remainder of the dough and put back into the fridge.
Sprinkle flour on your worktop and either more flour or cornmeal on the baking tray that you are going to use. Quickly shape the piece of dough into a smooth ball. If it doesn’t, don’t worry about it. It won’t actually make a difference to the taste.
Place the dough on the prepared baking tray and allow to rest, without covering, for 40 minutes.
Twenty minutes before you want to bake it, preheat your oven. The original recipe that I saw specified 450˚F – I use a fan oven which I set to 210˚C.
Dust the dough with flour, sprinkle gently with a little water and put into the oven. Check after 30 minutes. The loaf may need to be turned over and cooked for another 10 minutes. Cool on a wire baking tray, if you can resist!