I know, I know, another bread post! They’ll taper off soon, I’m sure, or morph into notes on the other blog. But since breadmaking was the dominant theme of our week, I want to wrap up the week with my notes.
I can see the 100% Whole Wheat Sandwich Bread recipe being our go-to bread for daily use: it has been delicious as toast and sammiches—when we managed to save some instead of devouring it hot from the oven. I’ve been cutting the salt way down and the flavor is perfect. Our whole wheat comes out moist and dense, almost cakelike. Which is to say: perfect. I like an airier crumb for things like rye and sourdough, but for whole wheat I prefer it quite dense.
I am consistently getting one less loaf out of a batch than the recipe says I should. I don’t think that’s because I’m making my loaves bigger than I ought—I’m baking the whole wheat in a standard size loaf pan and using the amount of dough the recipe suggests. Weird.
I mixed up a batch of the brioche dough this morning to try as cinnamon rolls tomorrow. I will probably freeze the rest in one-pound batches, as suggested.
If you’re itching to give the method a try, the authors have generously shared some recipes on the Artisan Bread in Five Minutes a Day website. Here’s the Basic Master Recipe (with a photo walk-through).
Here’s a whole wheat brioche from their second book.
I really liked this older post from the blog of Zoë François, one of the two authors of ABin5. She answers loads of questions in the comments about specific problems people are having with their baking—kind of like “Car Talk” for bread. Actually, many of the posts on her blog and the main ABin5 blog are like that—excellent advice in the comments.
Our week in bread:
Monday—Scott gave me the book.
Tuesday—We tried the “light wheat bread” recipe.
Wednesday—Mixed up the 100% whole wheat recipe for the next day’s baking.
Thursday—It was to die for.
Friday—too busy eating bread to post. Dinner was bread and cheese and fruit. Heaven.
Today—turkey and Swiss on whole wheat for lunch; brioche dough in fridge.
Next batch of dough: I gotta try that olive oil bread for pizza crust. My friend Joann was tantalizing me with her posts yesterday; her family is “roadschooling,” traveling the country in an RV. They bought the ABin5 book for their Kindle this week and have made focaccia, bagels, and cinnamon rolls so far. In the RV. How cool is that?
Boy howdy. That whole wheat sandwich bread recipe. It’s like one foot in heaven. After we inhaled the first loaf, I noticed chalk grafitti on the side-yard fence:
LIFE IS GOOD
BREAD IS BETTER
That about sums it up.
…about this whole bread thing.
Today’s notes so far: Our Henry’s is closed for remodeling! I had no idea. Totally threw off my plans. No rye flour at the big supermarket, so today we went with the whole wheat sandwich bread recipe, which I was eager to try anyway. Has honey & oil, so: rich and sweet? Yum? The dough is rising now. Might bake a loaf this afternoon to eat with dinner, or may wait until tomorrow morning. We polished off the last of yesterday’s baking at lunch.
Midafternoon update: Aha! I think yesterday’s yeast must have been old. Or my water was a tad too hot (I was worried about that) and zapped some of the yeast. Because today, using a new jar of yeast, WOW. This batch of dough (a different recipe) has risen considerably higher than yesterday’s, and is indeed filling a 5-quart container.
We tried our first batch of Artisan Bread in Five Minutes a Day today. I used the “Light Wheat Bread” recipe (a mix of whole wheat and unbleached white flours). It was supposed to make four loaves but we only got three out of it. This just means I get to try another recipe tomorrow.
—Very tasty bread, but a bit salty, we thought? I’ll reduce the salt in the next batch.
—Fabulous crust and a wonderful crumb. Very pleased with the texture. Just perfect.
—Would definitely double the recipe next time, since the point is to have enough in the fridge to bake a new loaf every day or so. A batch of dough should keep up to two weeks. I love the thought of the flavor intensifying over time, as the dough ages and develops sourdough notes.
The method was every bit as quick and easy as advertised. Took us all of ten minutes to mix up the big batch of dough (and half of that was ingredient-assembling—I need to restock my breadmaking supplies). You’re supposed to give it an initial rise of at least two hours, and then you can use the dough right away or put it in the fridge. We cut off enough for one loaf and enjoyed that with friends a couple of hours later. The rest went back into the fridge, and I sent a loaf’s worth of dough home with my friend and baked the second loaf for our dinner.
The dough was wet and sticky—deliberately; that’s part of the method—and I really thought the first loaf was going to be a flop because it spread out a lot during the short rising time. But then it baked up beautifully. Awesome oven spring. Quite thrilling, really.
I’m itching to try the peasant rye loaf and can see keeping batches of the “light wheat” (the whole wheat/white flour mix) and of rye in the fridge all week and alternating for each day’s baking. I’m also eager to try the whole wheat recipe and the brioche.
The possibilities for that brioche dough are intoxicating.
Oh, and I must say a bit of lemon curd countered the saltiness of today’s loaves quite nicely.
I may cross-post this at the old bread blog for easier reference (that blog used to be my breadmaking notebook, for collecting recipes and advice) but for now I’m going to post my bread notes here, too.
Please Pass the Butter
Artisan Bread in Five Minutes a Day website (the videos are especially helpful)
1) Because he loves me;
2) Because he reads my Facebook page and saw that my old boss left a comment recommending it;
3) Because lately we seem to be going through three loaves a week…
my husband bought me a copy of, yes, Artisan Bread in Five Minutes a Day.
Looks like it might be time to dust off my old bread blog.
Thanks, honey. I’ll save you an extra-thick slice.