Saturday, September 20, 2008

One of the biggest food problems I had when arriving in USA was with the bread. Every week when I went shopping I would try another brand but they were always too sweet. I guessed that Europeans had a different expectation from their daily bread. Sourdough seemed to satisfy my palate but I longed for the taste of a french loaf, crusty on the outside and soft inside, spread with some delicious butter. Butter here was not really to my liking, although I could buy European butters in some supermarkets it came at a price. Later when I moved to Woodbury I found I had more choice, and in one of my local supermarkets, Kowalskis, I had a choice of delicious fresh breads, and a choice of several European butters. However, I had decided to try and make my own. Not something I relished, but thought I should at least make an attempt. Also thought it would be good to have control over what was in my daily bread. I bought a breadmaker. It was the kneading and proving that was putting me off and this seemed an easier alternative. For the most part it was successful, and wonderful to wake up to the smell of fresh bread, but I soon tired of the hole left in the bottom after I had fished out the paddle, and I never really felt I had anything worthy to serve to guests. Then one day while watching TV I saw an article about baking bread in 5 mins a day. I turned up the volume, listened closely and found it hard to believe what they were saying. Apparently you could make up the dough, stirring it together with a spoon, no kneading required, leave it for 2 hours then put it in the fridge until ready to bake. It will last up to 14 days and all you do is pull off a piece, form into required shape, leave for 40mins then bake on a pizza stone in a 450f oven for 30mins. Don't believe me then I recommend you go and borrow, or buy the book. It really does work, although it does take longer than 5 mins on the day, it is not difficult, and well worth the time you spend on it. I have told all my friends about it and several of them have purchased the book and love it just as much as I do. There are lots of different bread types and the basic dough makes wonderful pizza base, ciabatta and french baguettes. The book is called
"ARTISAN BREAD in FIVE MINUTES a DAY" and is written by Jeff Hertzberg and Zoe Francois.
I am sure you will feel as enthusiastic about this book as I do, and find yourself making your own bread, happy in the knowledge that on a daily basis you are producing the most delicious homemade bread without the kneading and time needed for traditional bread making.
In my photos you can see the basic recipe for a "BOULE" and in the second photo I hadadded sundried tomatoes and rosemary. Yummy!

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