\Something about this cold weather makes me crave warm home baked bread. The only problem with this is that bread making scares me. It seems so complex and time consuming, and time is something I have not had much of lately. So with all the hype surrounding this bread making in 5 minutes a day, I decided it was high time to try it. The worst that can happen is I lose five minutes of my day, right? Well, I am pleased to tell you that this trend lives up to the hype! I successfully made yeast bread in FIVE MINUTES (well hands on, I did have to let it rise in the fridge, but good things do come to those who wait!) When looking for the recipe I ended up on the King Arthur Flour recipe website... if you haven't checked it out, it is a goldmine of delicious recipes! All you have to do for this bread is throw some ingredients in a bowl, cover it up, put it in the fridge and let it work. I did this before I went to work, and when I came home, I took the dough out, set it on the counter for an hour, baked it, and VOILA amazing, warm, home baked bread! I LOVE this! The best part is, once you have the dough made, you can store it in the fridge and whenever you have a hankering for some bread, cut off a hunk and you're on your way! I made two variations, one with cornmeal, one without.
While both were good, I liked the cornmeal loaf best as it was a bit more substantial and the cornmeal gave it a crunchy texture that I found divine. So what are you waiting for? You are just five minutes away from fresh baked bread every day!
6 1/2 to 7 1/2 cups Unbleached All-Purpose Flour*
1 tablespoon salt
1 1/2 tablespoons instant yeast
Broa (Portuguese Corn Bread) Variation from here
The recipe is easily doubled or halved.
3 cups lukewarm water
1-1/2 tablespoons granulated yeast (1-1/2 packets)
1-1/2 tablespoons salt
1-1/2 cups stone-ground or standard cornmeal
5 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
Cornmeal for dusting the top
Directions (same for both types)
*The flour/liquid ratio is important in this recipe. If you measure flour by sprinkling it into your measuring cup, then gently sweeping off the excess, use 7 1/2 cups. If you measure flour by dipping your cup into the canister, then sweeping off the excess, use 6 1/2 cups. Most accurate of all, and guaranteed to give you the best results, if you measure flour by weight, use 32 ounces.
Combine all of the ingredients (either original or cornmeal variety) in a large mixing bowl, or a large (6-quart), food-safe plastic bucket. For first-timers, "lukewarm" means about 105°F, but don't stress over getting the temperatures exact here.
Mix and stir everything together to make a very sticky, rough dough. If you have a stand mixer, beat at medium speed with the beater blade for 30 to 60 seconds. If you don't have a mixer, just stir-stir-stir with a big spoon till everything is combined.
Next, you're going to let the dough rise. If you've made the dough in a plastic bucket, you're all set — just let it stay there, covering the bucket with a lid or plastic wrap; a shower cap actually works well here. If you've made the dough in a bowl that's not at least 6-quart capacity, transfer it to a large bowl; it's going to rise a lot. There's no need to grease the bowl, though you can if you like; it makes it a bit easier to get the dough out when it's time to bake bread.
Cover the bowl or bucket, and let the dough rise at room temperature for 2 hours. Then refrigerate it for at least 2 hours, or for up to about 7 days. (If you're pressed for time, skip the room-temperature rise, and stick it right into the fridge). The longer you keep it in the fridge, the tangier it'll get; if you chill it for 7 days, it will taste like sourdough. Over the course of the first day or so, it'll rise, then fall. That's OK; that's what it's supposed to do.
When you're ready to make bread, sprinkle the top of the dough with flour; this will make it easier to grab a hunk. Grease your hands, and pull off about 1/4 to 1/3 of the dough — a 14-ounce to 19-ounce piece, if you have a scale. It'll be about the size of a softball, or a large grapefruit.
Plop the sticky dough onto a floured or cornmeal covered work surface, and round it into a ball, or a longer log. Don't fuss around trying to make it perfect; just do the best you can.
Place the dough on a piece of parchment (if you're going to use a baking stone); or onto a lightly greased or parchment-lined baking sheet. Sift a light coating of flour or cornmeal over the top; this will help keep the dough moist as it rests before baking.
Let the dough rise for about 45 to 60 minutes. It won't appear to rise upwards that much; rather, it'll seem to settle and expand. Preheat your oven (and baking stone, if you're using one) to 450°F while the dough rests. Place a shallow pan on the lowest oven rack, and have 1 cup of hot water ready to go.
When you're ready to bake, take a sharp knife and slash the bread 2 or 3 times, making a cut about 1/2" deep. The bread may deflate a bit; that's OK, it'll pick right up in the hot oven.
Place the bread in the oven, and carefully pour the 1 cup hot water into the shallow pan on the rack beneath. It'll bubble and steam; close the oven door quickly.
Bake the bread for 25 to 35 minutes, until it's a deep, golden brown.
Remove the bread from the oven, and cool it on a rack. Store leftover bread in a plastic bag at room temperature.
Yield: 3 or 4 loaves, depending on size.