Monday, April 20, 2009

I have run into this fantastic bread recipe on several blogs.  It has become popular with the release of Artisan Bread in Five Minutes A Day.  The authors have their own website where they post all sorts of delicious looking breads using this very basic method.

Here is the base recipe:

Artisan Bread
3 cups luke-warm water
1 1/2 Tbsp yeast
1 1/2 Tbsp salt
6 1/2 cups white flour

Mix the first three ingredients together.

Add the flour. (The dough will be tacky still.)

Cover with plastic wrap and let sit for 2 hours.

At this point you can throw it in your fridge for up to two weeks.  The dough will continue to work becoming more sourdough-like.

Or you can shape it into whatever type bread you want to serve: loaf, rolls, braid, etc...

I typically make this with half-wheat, half-white.  Sometimes I make the whole recipe and set half aside.  Other times I just make half the recipe for my little family.

Sprinkle flour on the dough as it is quite sticky and cut off as much as you need.  Gently shape into a loaf and place on a greased (or cornmeal-ed) baking sheet.  Let rise for 40 minutes or till double, cut a slash across the top with a sharp knife and bake in a pre-heated 450 degree oven for about 30 minutes or until well-browned.

Super easy!

Now, there are all sorts of additional tricks you can do to make your bread more crusty.  The basics being: hot oven and steam.  You can go to Lynn's Kitchen Adventures for more instruction about how to do that.  There are also several videos out there to show you exactly what do to.

*  *  *  *  *

Today, I wanted to make Brotchen - a hard-crust, German dinner roll. 
 According to the Artisan people, I just needed to make the regular recipe and brush the rolls with egg white before baking.  Here they are in all their unequal-sized splendor.

But... I don’t have a picture of the final result because right when I am supposed to be putting the bread in the oven, I get a long-distance phone call which takes 15 mintues and leaves me feeling somewhat discouraged. Then I rush into the kitchen to turn on the oven for my over-risen rolls and madly start preparing dinner. 

Meanwhile, my son is doing everything he can to hinder me. After making it clear that the water in the sink is off-limits today, he proceeds to pull the water pitcher off the counter, flooding the floor. I’m mopping and trying to keep him out of the mess at the same time. In the process, I spill some of the egg white for basting my rolls all over the counter – another mess to clean.  

I’m frustrated and grumpy knowing that the rolls won’t turn out, dinner is going to be late, my family will probably hate what is on the menu anyways, my kid is too much underfoot and most of all, my husband is peacefully sitting upstairs, oblivious to all the fuming and stewing going on in the kitchen.  Does he not know how annoyed I am? (No)  Shouldn’t he sense my mood – we are supposed to be “one”, right? (Uh.. I don’t think it works that way - at least not 3 rooms away.)  How can he be so inconsiderate to let me slave away down here while I'm sure he is doing nothing important. (Irrational assumptions.)

All the negative energy must have made its ways upstairs (or perhaps the sounds of sniveling?) because my knight in shining armor DID come down to see if I needed help and took a little boy off my hands.  Now what was it that I so upset about exactly?  How much easier it would have been if I just had asked for help in the very beginning rather than testing my husband’s love in an exam he didn’t even know about (yet somehow managed to pass with flying colors). 

Dinner ended up being just so-so.. the bread had all stuck together rather than being individual rolls, but eh… it’s just a meal and not worth destroying our family harmony over, right? 

So…. Let’s just pretend that these were my beautiful dinner rolls okay?

This bread recipe really is cool and very easy to make.  
Don't let my bad day keep you from trying it out.

Have fun!

Brotchen picture courtesy of the Artisan Bread people.

Comments (1)

On May 6, 2009 at 12:41 AM , Alison Palmer said...

I love this book! I have it and have tried a couple of recipes. They are so yummy! :)