Giving thanks

I give thanks for this lovely loaf of bread, which will sustain me.

In this season of giving thanks for our blessings, I thank each and every one of you for making a bit of time in your life to visit my blog, to like my photos. I deeply appreciate it. I wish you a very good holiday season and a very prosperous 2016.

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Baking bread

Faye loves finding new and interesting books at our library. One she found was Artisan Bread in Five Minutes a Day which details a bread baking technique far different from anything she and most people are accustomed to. She liked it so much we have eaten little store bought bread for several months. Santa brought Faye The New Artisan Bread in Five Minutes a Day. This weekend I finally delved into the bread-making process.

On Friday I made a batch of dough following the Deli Rye dough recipe. The ingredients are few – water, yeast, salt, caraway seeds, rye and all-purpose flours. The process is quite simple – mix everything without kneading and let rise at room temperature. This took less than 15 minutes. Because our kitchen is cold at this time of year we let it rise for two hours. Here’s a look at the dough.

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Then put the dough container in the fridge. It stays good for up to two weeks. Yesterday I made a loaf of bread. Again, the process is quite simple and again, you do ot knead the dough. Cut a 1 1/2 lb chunk of dough, work it into a ball, fold two sides under, fold the other two sides under, place on parchment paper, and let rise at room temperature for approximately two hours. This step took maybe five minutes. My dough was very wet and sticky, making it hard to work with. Next time I will probably add more dough than the recipe calls for. Here’s the dough ball.

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There is a great web site with new recipes, baking tweaks, all kinds of great information. You can bake bread in a crock-pot and on the grill. We have not tried these techniques yet but look forward to doing so when the weather warms up to the point at which we don’t want to heat up the kitchen.

A cool technique Faye found is that you can bake the bread in a Dutch oven, which is the technique I used. Set your oven to 500F and put the Dutch oven in to preheat for 20-30 minutes. Once it’s preheated, remove it, put your dough with parchment paper inside, cover and return to oven to bake for 15 minutes.

Remove the Dutch oven, remove the lid, change the oven temperature to 450, and return the uncovered Dutch oven to bake for another 20 minutes. Check at that time to determine doneness and remove or return as you judge necessary. If ready, remove, remove from the Dutch oven, remove the parchment paper, and let cool on a rack for at least an hour. Mine was a tad over done.

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Still quite edible, quite tasty, great texture, and far more satisfying than the bland ass shit that most store bought breads are. Plus, no additives, preservatives, or any other -tives.

If you like bread (even gluten-sensitives and -intolerants can find recipes in the book and online) I encourage you to check this out. I’m not a shill or a marketer for Artisan Bread in Five. This really is good stuff.

Home made bread

Home made bread

It’s such a humble thing and few people might think of making their own bread. Faye found a book at our library – Artisan Bread in Five Minutes a Day – and began experimenting. She liked it so much that she hinted she’d like to add the new edition to our cookbook library. For once I paid attention and gave it to her for Christmas.

Making your starter batch is quite simple. Even I can do it as I proved on Sunday. Takes little time, as does shaping each loaf. Our breads have turned out with a lot of what I call ‘body’ – chewy with a crisp crust that gives my jaws a workout, lots of flavour. Store bought bread isn’t nearly as satisfying, not to mention having some unpronounceable ingredients.

Yum.

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