Just the other day I came across a blogger (sorry, don’t recollect who it was) saying that she was a “carbs” person. I really know what that means. My favourite food group is carbohydrates (think rice, wheat, pasta, bread….) and if I stay away from them for too long, I actually get severe “carb cravings”!
So you will understand that one of my favourite things is the aroma of bread baking in the oven and eating bread, warm from the oven, without any other accompaniment but a cup of hot tea! Of course, I am not likely to refuse an offer of bread with a dab of butter (no jam please!), or cheese or peanut butter.
I just realized that I hadn’t made bread in a very long time and it was about time I did something about that. Now the easiest type of bread to make that I know of is No Knead Bread. You just mix everything together, refrigerate it overnight and bake it in the morning.
But what if you want to go beyond this, but would prefer to put in as little effort as possible yet make good bread? You could try Artisan Bread in Five Minutes A Day by Jeff Hertzberg and Zoe Francis. I did!
There was a time about a year ago, when reviews about this book (referred to as ABin5 from now onwards) were all over the net. I couldn’t get the book here so got my sister to bring it down when she came on vacation early this year. I have made bread successfully, quite a few times from the book yet never got around to mentioning it here.
If you think you can make bread in 5 minutes, then you are fooling yourself. What this book does, however, is to ensure that you can make the dough with minimal effort. Rest the dough at room temperature for about 2 hours and then refrigerate the dough. This means that whenever you want fresh bread, you take the dough out and shape it (the 5 minutes in the title), let it rise and bake it.
You can find more about this on the ABin5 site.
This time I used the Light Whole Wheat Bread from ABin5. I am normally quite organized, but occasionally I have these “disorganized” days. So just as I started out to mix the dough for my bread I discovered I didn’t have enough all purpose flour required by the recipe in the book.
So I increased (and made up the deficit) the amount of whole wheat flour quite a bit. This probably means that this bread no longer qualifies for “Light Whole Wheat”! It, however, turned out to be an excellent bread with a crackly, crusty exterior and was soft on the inside with great texture. It wasn’t dense at all as I was worried it might become.
Here is my adapted version of the recipe from Artisan Bread in 5 Minutes. Please note that this is also a halved version and this amount of dough makes 2 medium sized loaves. So for this bread, I used half of the dough I made. I also decided to shape the dough to look like a bunch of grapes, just for fun. I remember seeing a picture of bread like this somewhere and had always wanted to try that.