Sunday, March 16, 2008

Five-Minute Peasant Bread

March 9 - March 16, 2008
After the pot luck where I brought the Irish soda bread, I came home and made a batch of Five-Minute Artisan peasant bread. First, I translated all the cups and tablespoons to weights, and then I mixed up a big batch of dough.

Although the book says just to stir it together without kneading, I couldn't resist kneading it for a few minutes because I thought that might develop the flavor more. In the morning I made one little one-pound loaf, which, because my photographer was away for the week, did not even get photographed. I managed to eat this baby peasant loaf all by myself in the course of a week, just by having a piece of toast every morning. I decided the one-pound loaves were a little too small, so I ended up making three loaves of bread from the master recipe, instead of four tiny loaves.
Yesterday, I made a torpedo loaf from half the remaining dough. I let it rise more than the recommended 40 minutes because that amount of time, directly from the refrigerator, results in almost no rising at all, and too much oven spring.

I put the shaped loaf in LaCouche's oblong pan, which Jim calls the Bread Coffin, and let it sit for a few hours. It still didn't do much rising--I think because it had been in the refrigerator for nearly a full week.
After a week, the flavor is definitely different. A little funky, or more fully-developed, depending on how you want to look at it. Jim loved the crust, but was not in love with the taste.

Sarah, on the other hand, could have eaten the whole loaf, although she has developed the Marginal Utility theory of eating, which holds that the first few bites of anything are the most satisfying, and your second helping of even something delicious will never be as good as the first helping. Once you have digested this theory, so to speak, you should be able to stop eating before the marginal utility goes down. She's going to write a diet book on this theory and make millions. I cut two pieces of bread for everyone, however, and she ate two.

You're supposed to be able to keep the Artisan bread dough in your refrigerator for two weeks, but I was a little doubtful about whether it would keep for another week, so I chopped up some Kalamata olives and tossed them in the last bowl of dough. This was an excellent idea.

Blended with the olives, the bread no longer had that sort of funkiness that it had on its own. (In fact, it didn't have it when it was toasted, either, which makes me wonder if I was imagining it). I also think this olive bread turned out to be the handsomest loaf of the bunch.

I'm still of two minds about this Five-Minute bread. The upside (having three or four loaves of bread at the ready) is, for me anyway, also the downside: being committed to having the same kind of bread for a couple of weeks. I really enjoy going through books and magazines, figuring out what bread I'm going to make this weekend, so having a giant bin of one kind of bread dough takes a lot of the fun out of bread-baking for me. But if you like having a familiar bread always ready to take out of the refrigerator and bake, I guess this is not a downside for you.


Melinda said...

So does 'funky' mean you don't like sourdough that much...or was it tasting beyond sourdough?
They all look wonderful! I like the way you have converted the recipe to grams measurements and decide it needs longer to rise. Cookbooks aren't the boss of you anymore!

Anonymous said...

Your bread coffin sure looks a lot better than mine. I've had it under a year and it has become stained, sort of like a baking stone. My coffin stays buried in my oven even when not in use. Storage is a problem for me...

breadbasketcase said...

I only like sourdough when it's not too sour--not so sour that you stop and ask yourself if it's possible that the bread's gone bad. The Bread Bible is still the boss of me.

My round LaCouche is heavily stained and kind of disgusting looking, but I've only used the "Italian bread" shape a few times so it still looks pretty. My baking stone is embarrassing.

Amelia Bedielia said...

The rye in the peasant loaf will get significantly more 'sour' than letting the dough from the "Boule (Artisan free form loaf)" will. I substituted 1/2 cup white whole wheat flour for 1/2 of the unbleached bread flour in the Boule master recipe to add more complexity as the dough ages.

I liked the Boule recipe from the book - the dough didn't make it past 2 days in the fridge. I tried the semolina recipe this week - its very good for sandwiches!

breadbasketcase said...

Amelia Bedelia,
Good point about the rye flour--I hadn't thought about that, but I've read that you should add rye flour if your sourdough starter is getting sluggish, so that makes sense.
I think the next time I make five-minute bread, I'll just cut the recipe in half--that way I'll have some on hand, but I won't feel committed to baking four loaves of the same kind of bread.

Rose said...

Just wanted to leave a general comment as I recently stumbled across your blog and I love it so much that I went back through your archives and read every single post (not that I'm stalking you or anything). I loved reading about your evolution as a bread baker - it's so inspiring! Back in January the L.A. Times ran an article about sourdough starter which reminded me that my mom always had sourdough starter and that I should have some, too. Since she's in Indianapolis and I'm in L.A., I couldn't just go take some of hers, so I started my own about a month ago (organic whole wheat flour and pineapple juice did the trick). I made a (barely) acceptable loaf of sourdough, but your blog has inspired me to keep trying. Thanks so much :)

breadbasketcase said...

Thank you--how nice to hear from you! Did you grow up in Indiana? I did, but it was northern IN, not the Indianapolis area. I never heard of the pineapple juice method, but it sounds interesting!

laura said...

I have made many of the loaves from
artisan bread in five. My favorite is the deli-rye. I also use the brioche
very frequently. I like the convenience of being able to make a loaf quick and easy. I usually use the dough up within the first week.

breadbasketcase said...

Thanks--I've heard very good things about the deli rye recipe. The brioche recipes look wonderful--have you tried the sticky buns?

Rose said...

Yes, I did grow up in Indiana - born in Bloomington, grew up (mostly) in Indianapolis.

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