I've been messing around with a new bread baking technique lately. Sourdough, while wonderful tasting and fun is just a little time intensive with a toddler in the house. And while I love kneading dough, The Boy seems to have some kind of radar that makes him need attention as soon as I am covered in sticky bread dough. So, my bread baking had pretty much fallen by the wayside until I read about an interesting technique in Mother Earth News called Artisan Bread in Five Minutes a Day.
The premise of the article (and book) is that you mix up a large batch of very wet dough. Each batch of dough can make several loaves. The dough is not kneaded. Instead, it stored in the refrigerator. When you are ready to bake, a loaf sized portion of dough is cut out of your main batch, quickly shaped into a loaf, allowed to rest, and then baked. Obviously, the resting and baking time takes more than five minutes but the active work time involved in this is very short.
I've been playing around with the master recipe and am pretty pleased with it. Mixing up a batch of the dough is very quick and it is wonderful to be able to quickly make a loaf of bread for dinner. So far my efforts have all been on the types of breads that I consider dinner breads: boule, baguettes and the like. There are recipes in the book for loaves of bread more suited to sandwiches but I have not had a chance to try them yet.
Here is a picture of the baguettes I made for dinner, resting on my new pizza peel before baking:
The dough needed to rest for twenty minutes while the oven preheated and then they were baked for about twenty-five minutes.
Here they are after baking:
So, in about the time it takes this guy to deconstruct the kitchen......we had fresh bread!