Holy deliciousness. A few month ago I added the book, Artisan Bread in Five Minutes a Day to my Amazon order. You know, because I needed to reach the free shipping level. I learned so much from my first read through and was excited at the prospect of fresh bread whenever I wanted it. They recommend using a pizza stone and pizza peel, both of which I do not own, so I put the book on the shelf. Out of sight, out of mind.
Then, a few weeks ago, I was hanging around Honey and Jam and noticed that she baked her bread in her cast iron skillet in the oven. Why didn’t I think of that?? Almost simultaneously, the Artisan Bread in Five website posted that instead of using the pizza peel you could put your loaf on a sheet of parchment and remove the parchment 10 minutes before baking is finished to brown the bottom crust.
Suddenly, I was out of excuses for not making this bread. Don’t make the same mistake, this bread is soooo good. A beautiful crunchy crust surrounds a spongy and flavorful interior. It reminds me of bread that we used to get at an Italian deli when I was a kid. While we were eating the first loaf, Marc kept looking at me with disbelief. He loved it and couldn’t belief how impressive the results were.
You can find the recipe on Hannah’s wonderful blog or purchase the book. The only special purchase I made for this bread was a dough-rising bucket because with the master recipe you make enough dough for several loaves. I purchased mine from King Arthur Flour and used my husband’s drill to make a small hole in the top of the lid. Your rising bucket needs a place for air to escape and you can choose to keep the lid slightly ajar or drill a small hole in the top of the lid.
Some tips I found helpful:
*You bake this bread in 1 lb. loaves. It is helpful to have a scale to know you’re at about 1 lb.
*If you do not have a pizza stone or pizza peel, simply put your cast iron skillet in the oven and preheat it as you would the pizza stone according to the directions. Put your dough ball on a small piece of parchment to rest and when it’s time to bake, transfer the parchment with dough to the skillet.
*Drill a small hole in the top of your dough-rising bucket and then you can snap the lid shut when storing it in the refrigerator.
*Don’t be afraid to let this loaf get nice and brown on the outside. The dough is intentionally a bit wetter than normal bread dough and can stand the prolonged baking without getting dry in the middle. For me this takes about 30-35 minutes.
*There is no proofing and no kneading with this bread. Do you honestly need another reason to try this bread?
*Do not buy this book and put it on your bookshelf. Give it a shot and be amazed. I can’t wait to take a loaf home to my parents and knock their socks off.