I mentioned before that pizza is my favorite food. When I was a kid, we'd sometimes go to a pizza place where they'd give kids a hunk of dough to play with while waiting for dinner. I loved watching the chefs flip the pizza dough in the air so casually. They are so talented! I think that would be a cool skill to learn.
A few years ago I stumbled upon the book, Artisan Bread in Five Minutes a Day. The two authors are a scientist and a Culinary Institute of America pastry chef, who figured out how to take the delicate and labor-intensive steps out of bread-making, so that it is an approachable baking technique for those of us short on time. It's Science! I figured I would try my hand at making bread; after the first batch, I don't think I bought bread or pizza from the store for several months.
This website shares the master recipe and also some suggestions for ways to switch up the ingredients to create fancier recipes, such as caramelized onion and herb dinner rolls, Indian naan, and my favorite: sticky pecan caramel buns.
The only four ingredients for standard dough are flour, yeast, salt, and water. (I urge you to compare that to the list of ingredients on the package of a store-bought loaf of bread.) The flour can be white or whole wheat, or any combination. I've found 50:50 is the ratio we think tastes best.
I let my mixer work for a couple minutes.
Cover with your favorite tea towel to let rise. After a couple hours, the dough can be baked or stored in the fridge to bake later. This is the part that is so flexible: the dough can rise for an hour or three--whatever is convenient for you. Then it can sit in the fridge for a day or 20 days. So accommodating for a busy schedule.
The dough can sit in the fridge for two weeks or even longer. The longer it sits, the more of a sourdough-like flavor it acquires. Once you are ready to bake, pull off a portion of the dough, sprinkle it with flour, and let it rise at room temperature before baking.
While I use the dough most often to make pizza crusts, we've also experimented with french boules, whole-wheat sandwich loaves, garlic knots, and cinnamon-sugar twists.
Hot bread from your own oven tastes SO, SO GOOD!
|Whole wheat sandwich loaf|
The book is worth browsing at the library or bookstore to gather some good ideas of ways to use the dough.
This method is so simple; it has made having fresh bread in the house so attainable! Enjoy.