Saturday, January 3, 2009

Bread Head

Because I am generally cold in the winter (and fall and spring), baking is an excellent way to satisfy my culinary urges while also heating up the apartment. Sneaky, I know.

One of my favorites lately has been a really easy, really tasty bread recipe I first heard on The Splendid Table. (Shout out to Lynne Rossetto Kasper!) Called Five-Minute Artisan Bread, it's a recipe from Artisan Bread in Five Minutes a Day: The Discovery that Revolutionizes Home Baking by Jeff Hertzberg and Zoe Francois. Basically, you mix up a bunch of flour and yeast and water and salt and put it in your fridge, and then bake it on a pizza stone. No proofing. No kneading. No punching down. And don't be scared of "artisan." That's just a fancy way of saying you made it yourself.

Zoe appeared on The Splendid Table about a year ago to talk about the book and share some tips; the show reaired on Dec. 27. If you're interested in trying her recipe, you can find it here. I'd recommend listening to the show as well. It's worth it to hear Lynne get all misty about a delicious loaf of bread. Lynne, you are my hero.

Oh, and one thing I learned the hard way -- unlike store-bought breads, which have preservatives to keep them fresh, homemade bread goes stale pretty quickly. I think breads with oils or eggs keep longer, but this one is good for 24 hours at most. There are ways to resuscitate it, but my solution is to only make as much bread as we'll eat in one night. Which is lots. We love bread.

The food: Five-Minute Artisan Bread
The verdict: Heat up the oven -- and not just because it's cold

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