Wabi-sabi is a Japanese philosophy that embraces the imperfect, ephemeral, and incomplete. I'm always screwing something up, but it often comes out more beautiful, more instructive, and more fun for it. Come make mistakes with me!

Sunday, May 22, 2011

Amazing Bread, Ridiculously Fast

I'm so excited - my new favorite-ever book, Artisan Bread in Five Minutes a Day, finally came in from Amazon!
I'm normally skeptical of anything that makes that kind of claim - it reminds me of some oily-looking creeper in an infomercial trying to sell you a get-rich-quick scheme.  But I tried this on a recommendation from a friend, and seriously, it is the easiest bread I have ever made.  It is easier than using the bread machine.  And the product is way better - these are amazing artisan-style loaves with cracked, crispy crusts and light, moist insides.

The secret is that you don't try to do everything at once.  The first day, you just make the dough - the easiest bread dough you've ever made, and no kneading.  It really is about five minutes of hands-on time (ok, maybe closer to ten for me, but that's because ingredients are all in crazy places in my small kitchen).  Then you let time do the work as it sits in your fridge.  Because the dough is very wet, it keeps for a long time without drying out.  So when you want a loaf, just pull off a hunk, let it rest, and bake. You make a big batch - the single recipe makes four one-pound loaves, and you can easily double it - and you're ready to go for weeks.  Amazing! 

Basically, you have to try this!

I made the brioche dough, which has several more ingredients than the basic recipe.  So if you start with the basic recipe (which you should, it's great and very versatile)  you will have an even easier time. 

I have a big tupperware - a large dough bucket is better.  Extra bonus - you can mix and store in the same container, so there are no bowls to clean!

This is a mixture of water, honey, salt, eggs, melted butter, and yeast.  (Another way this recipe is flexible - use whatever yeast you have.  Bread machine yeast, rapid or quick rise, active dry - doesn't matter.  The long rise time will even it out.  I guess cake yeast would be different, but since I've never even seen it much less used it, I won't worry about that.  )

Here's how I know it's going to taste amazing:

Yep, there are three sticks of butter and 8 eggs in this recipe.  (It does make four loaves.  But still.)

Then I added a whole lotta A-P flour. 

A little elbow grease for the mixing.  Just mixing - no kneading!  That's right - no sticky countertop or bread board, no wasting huge quantities of flour to keep it from sticking, no mess, no sore arms.  Now it's brioche!  

Cover loosely and let it sit on your counter for a couple hours.  Then put on the top (again, not airtight), pop it in the fridge or one-pound portions in the freezer, and you're done for today!  It took me longer to write this post than it did to make dough for four loaves of bread.

I'll post the baking steps soon (om nom nom).  The dough is super-versatile; you can just make a loaf, or you can make it into cinnamon rolls, coffee cakes, challah, dinner rolls ... you get the idea.

I left the exact measurements out because I don't think the authors would really appreciate me spreading their copyrighted ideas all over the interwebs.  But you can almost certainly get the book at your local library for exact amounts.  I just wanted to show you how easy and fun this is!


  1. Sounds pretty easy will have to try this.

  2. I love that book so much. I mostly make the European peasant bread so I need to try out more of the recipes. I keep getting this book as a present for people when they say that they want fresh baked bread but think it's too hard or time consuming.