Thursday, April 28, 2011

Bread Baker

I said earlier that I wanted to start putting more of my attempts at cooking and baking on the blog, but I haven't been very good about that. I had last Friday off of work (perk of working at a private, Catholic university) so J and I headed out to Newton to check out some stores. The first is one J discovered a few weeks ago and had been dying to show me. No photos, but that's probably best because China Fair is one incredibly shady joint. I was pretty sure we were going to get stabbed in the alleyway that led to the super-sketchy door, and then once inside I figured we'd be abducted and sold into slavery, but luckily neither of those things happened and we just ended up buying WAY too much kitchen stuff. Among the things we got was a dough container, which I'd been thinking about getting for a while.
Then we went next door to the New England Mobile Book Fair. This place is equally sketchy, but more popular, and we've been before. It's a dangerous place filled with discounted books on every subject imaginable. We usually go and each find about 20 books we want, but then talk each other out of most of them. It's a good system. Unfortunately it didn't work this time because we spent enough to get a free T-shirt or tote bag and to get 3 more stamps on our "Loyalty Card".
Anywho, I should get to the point of this suddenly very long story. I bought Artisan Bread in Five Minutes a Day to try my hand at baking bread. This is partly because I love baking and partly because my poor wallet can't afford to keep going to When Pigs Fly. We got home and my impatient side took over and I make a batch of the basic bread, which the book says you need to master before moving on. That's hard. The other recipes look delicious!
So I used our stand mixer (seriously, how did I live before this thing?) to whip up a batch of dough and then let it rise. Nerd Alert! Yeast is awesome!! 2 quarts of dough became 4 quarts of dough in about 3 hours just sitting on the counter.
Saturday morning we baked. Form the loaf, check. Pizza stone in the oven, check. Pan on lower rack for water, check... wait a second. Folks, putting a glass Pyrex pan in the oven, letting it preheat to 450 degrees and then pouring water into it results in this.
I do not recommend it.

Luckily the bread turned out fabulously and we then made two more loaves and had eaten all of it by the end of the weekend. Sorry there's no photo of the finished product, it was too yummy to stop and take a photo before inhaling. I'll try to exert some self control on the next batch.
As long as you don't shatter a glass pan in your oven, it really does only take about 5 minutes. Guess that's what the authors meant by mastering the recipe.


  1. I weep for the death of your Pyrex! Glad there were no injuries though. Was this a no-knead recipe?

  2. I bought a set of cast iron pans recently that work great for preheating and steaming the oven. Though I've baked many loaves without the steam and it's not that different. And if you ever get the chance, take a class at King Arthur Flour! I flew out there last fall for a class and it was invaluable to learn from the pros. Happy baking!

  3. It was a no-knead recipe. So much easier and less time consuming.
    I'll have to look into King Arthur. I've bought their flour before and it's good, but I usually go with whatever's on sale.

  4. I bake bread almost weekly but have never had much luck with the Artisan Bread. Will have to consider that book. As if I need one more cookbook.