It occurs to me that no one has posted much of anything about bread-baking lately.
Remember a couple of years ago when that Artisan Bread Baking in Five Minutes a Day book came out and we all went sort of berserk? (Okay, so maybe I was the only one who went berserk, but I really did…) For those who have not yet bought this fairly awesome book or at least tried the master recipe found online, I highly recommend it: it basically involves mixing up a batch of no-knead dough and letting it rise for a couple of hours, after which you store it in the fridge for up to two weeks. During that time you can pull of pieces of it to make those round artisan loaves that go for $4.99 at the grocery store, or easy quick foccacia, or pizza, or whatever you want. Awesome way to have fresh bread at practically the drop of a hat. (Foccacia doesn’t even need a second rise; it’s done in half an hour, and I usually sprinkle a little fresh rosemary and rock salt on top…yummm…)
That basic recipe has become my go-to for bread on a regular basis; I use it all the time. In the past month or so I’ve started branching out a bit to a few newer recipes…there’s an awesome recipe in there for “Granola bread,” where you add a cup of granola, a little honey, and some spices to the dough…it’s really amazing stuff.
I’ve also started working with making ordinary sandwich bread, which is challenging with this particular kind of dough: it’s very sticky, so even if you coat it with flour and put it in a greased pan it’s likely to stick to the sides and bottom. However, when I’ve used a nonstick pan and greased it well, and used one of the bread recipes with a little melted butter replacing some of the water in the recipe, I’ve been able to get something fairly sandwich-shaped out.
So…any readers who don’t bake bread, or who are intimidated by the idea of yeast and rises and kneading and stuff like I was until I tried this recipe, I beg you, follow those links and give it a try! It’s way easier than I ever thought it would be, and absolutely delicious. Any who do bake your family’s bread on a regular basis—any suggestions, recipes, links, and so forth?
In the meantime, as we approach Easter, let me link over to my artisan-bread-in-five-minutes version of Hot Cross Buns…give these a shot!