I LOVE homemade bread, really, who doesn’t? As a teenager I would ambitiously make bread from scratch, and my family loved it. Now it has been years since I’ve made bread the "old fashioned way". My dad will still ask me "when are you going to make some of that bread again?" Now I don’t often have the luxury of a whole half-day to mix, knead, wait, knead, wait, knead, wait and bake. Even if I do have a free day, there are other things that make it to the top of my priority list ("Hun, I don’t have any clean pants!").
Recently I was reading on monesavingmom that making your own bread saves a lot of money. A store bought sandwich loaf probably costs $2, but making your own is supposed to cost about 50 cents (if you buy yeast in bulk rather than packets). So homemade bread= money saved, warm yummyness, wonderful smelling house, no strange chemicals being sneaked in... BUT it is soo time consuming.
After thinking through all those wonderful benefits I decided I would look for a bread maker. Bread maker bread is not as good as the good old fashioned kind, but it IS less labor intensive. So I started researching to find a decent ones on craigslist.
About 2 days into my search moneysavingmom posted another article about making homemade artisan bread in 5-minutes a day and a link to a video tutorial explaining the process. My curiosity was piqued and finally today came time for the long awaited bread experiment. It turned out awesome! It had a nice thick crust like French bread and tasted a little like sour dough bread. David said it reminded him of the bread at Panera (we love the soup in a bread bowl).
Making the bread really was as easy as the video showed. The only minor hitch in my bread making occurred when I went to slide the bread into the oven. The dough stuck. When I tried to coax it off the pan it suddenly obeyed, jumping off one pan and landing upside down on the pan in the oven. Thus my beautiful artisan slices ended up on the bottom side. :-( It still looked fine, and tasted great. But next time it will be even greater, and I will have even more beautiful pictures to prove it!
Curious? Check out the video I followed to make it.
(By the way, I don’t have a pizza stone or the other pizza thing mentioned in the video. I just used upside down cookie sheets instead. I think I read elsewhere you could also use a cast iron pan. I’m all about using what you’ve got and being creative!)
The whole idea comes from the book "Artisan Bread in 5 Minutes a Day". I might just ask for this book for my Birthday now that I won't be needing a bread machine. The authors also have a blog that seems to have some interesting ideas for bread variations http://www.artisanbreadinfive.com
These are some of the books in the 5 minute a day series: