Artisan Bread in Five B(oat) Bread
New bread book from the library! Artisan Bread in Five Minutes a Day: The Discovery That Revolutionizes Home Baking, by Jeff Hertzberg and Zoe Francois.
I have been baking from this book – especially the challah recipe, which I’ve been tweaking for better workability – for months now, so it already feels like an old friend.
I came this close to buying it in Chapters a few weeks ago, and decided not to because it doesn’t really include very many recipes. However, sitting down with it, I’m sort of starting to rethink that decision… I think this one may be a keeper.
Now that I have it in my hands (not literally; I had to put it down to type) I’m finding I do love the happy, balanced tone of the book itself – above and beyond its core formulae (of which there are more than I’d originally estimated, however).
I like the fact that most of the recipes are non-dairy, though some do include milk and butter and whatnot.
Anyway, I really want to make as many of the breads as appeal to me (not all do), starting with the semolina bread, which I’ve been wanting to try anyway… however, since I decided that, I have been completely unable to find semolina flour in our regular grocery stores.
I used to buy it all the time when I made pasta, but now it seems to have vanished from the shelves. Will have to try again over the weekend. I don’t love sesame seeds, but Hertzberg and Francois say the combo of semolina and sesame is wonderful, and I think I’ll trust them and try it out the way they say.
Meanwhile, I decided to make the very blah-vanilla-looking Oat Flour Bread (p. 104). Well, I wanted to make the Oatmeal Bread (p. 94), but it looked too involved, and I was tired, so I decided to just chuck a cup of rolled oats into the Boring Oat Bread and call it a day.
Except the Oat Bread calls for oat flour, and I forgot until halfway through mixing it that what I’d bought was barley flour (the store had no oat flour, so I figured I’d find another recipe). I should call this blog “The Distracted Chef” because yes, when shopping with children I forget what I’ve bought, and when baking with children, I forget what flours I have on hand.
So I made (b)oat bread! The B is for Barley, which I substituted for the one cup of oat flour called for. I used bread flour because we were out of all-purpose, cut down the flour by one cup and dumped in the cup of rolled oats to liven it up.
What else? Oh, yeah, while I was massacreing the recipe, I added 1/4 cup of maple syrup because the Oatmeal Bread calls for 1/2 a cup and it sounded yummy, but we only had 1/4 cup left in the house; I reduced the water accordingly.
So throw it all together at 8:00 a.m., stir it up, rise it for 2 hours, fridge it for 4 hours, and what do you get…?
The barley and maple syrup gave the bread such a lovely, soft sweet taste and texture.
Soft means this bread is very hard to slice when hot…but reasonable once cooled. I made grilled cheese with this bread today for the little kids’ lunches.
So there you go. Sometimes you work hard and the bread flops… and sometimes you just throw a few things in a bowl, stir it around, and end up with Very Good Bread.
The super-nice thing is that the recipe made enough for three loaves… I baked up two last night before supper (served it with lasagna), and saved one to bake tonight so we will have fresh bread for the kids tomorrow morning. Yay, me!