I have heard a lot of talk about the book "Artisan bread in five minutes a day", for the most part it has been very good talk, so I kind of fancied giving it a go, but did not want to buy the book without knowing if it was good first. Fortunately it was a case of internet to the rescue, I was directed to a link giving the basic recipe and some variations (it is a legal and legit link, they interview the author).
Decent homemade bread eludes me, while I can accept it will never be exactly like the stuff you buy (either sliced or bakery) I never seem to get it right, making something that is edible but not quite what I am after. I also don't have space for a bread maker, and am not keen on the paddle hole they leave anyway.
The recipe is easy to follow, you make up a wet dough and keep it in the fridge over night, or longer. When you want the bread you take some out, shape it and cook it, and tada, fresh bread with minimal daily effort. The daily bit probably only takes five minutes of effort, but you do need to mix the dough in the first place, which takes longer, and there is waiting and cooking time so it is not like out of the fridge and five minutes later you are eating bread, but that is ok, I mean you would have to be expeting a magic trick if that is what you are after.
I halved the quantity, giving enough for two baking sessions. I also didn't mess about with a pizza stone, I don't have one and the sticky dough would make a horrible mess anyway I think (plus I suspect I would burn myself in the process). I just put it on a baking sheet and it seemed quite happy. I rubbed it with butter when it came out of the oven, I was told this makes the crust softer and explains why it is very shiny in this photo:
It looks good (even if I say so myself), and was less effort than traditional bread although I did have to plan ahead and mix the dough the night before, plus find fridge space for it.
It is still not quite right though. I can't deicde if I am wanting the impossible and what I class as not quite right is the same thing everyone else raves about as delicious home made bread or if I am still getting something wrong.
Since I was not blown away with it I used the rest of the dough to make a pizza. The dough is pretty sticky, so spreading it out was a bit of a pain. I baked it until it was crispy before adding the toppings.
The pizza was much more of a success than the loaf, I would maybe make pizza like this again, but I think I might still be on the hunt for the perfect loaf. Or should I give up and accept that a Tiger loaf from Tesco is bready perfection?