I am now on my way to my second blog, I still don’t really know what I’m doing on the computer, but it’s a work in progress. I however do know how to cook. This recipe came from a good friend of mine Susan Heins. She got the recipe from the book Artisan Bread in Five Minutes A Day. It is a fabulous, easy recipe that will never have you buying bread again! It is so crunchy on the outside and moist and chewy on the inside. I will post the recipe at the end of this blog. We are in Macatawa Michigan on and off for the summer. Pete and I had quite the adventure getting here. We drove 1875 Miles from Mesa Arizona. We took our boys Prius car and it took us 3 days and $150.00 in gas, I love that little car! At one point we were getting 48.9 miles an hour. When we were planning the long drive, I asked Pete to bring the cd’s for our listening pleasure. An hour into the trip, he is driving, I pull out a cd case and it is empty. I pull out another one and it is empty too. He had left all our favorites, Chicago, James Taylor, Cat Stevens, and numerous others in our player back home. So that left us to have many a wonderful conversation on the way here. Macatawa Michigan is our favorite place in the world. There is a peace that comes over you here like no place I’ve ever been. I tend to not watch TV here at all. We are mostly outside watching boats go by the lake or listening to the lovely sounds of song birds. The big Red lighthouse is such a comforting sight while you walk along the beach. They have the best Farmers Market I have ever been to in Holland. I have been buying all kinds of fresh vegetables and homemade fresh cheese, fresh pasta, and fresh made jams that are in the picture above. Pete was here for two weeks and had to leave to go back to work, so I can live the life of leisure and pursue my cooking blog. It was truly like a second honeymoon for us, and we both cried when we had to leave each other. I thought this empty nest thing was going to be the hardest thing I have ever done, and it was at first. Now though, I think I could get use to this life and getting back to where we were before we had children. I love you Pete Evans, with all my heart, this one’s for you!
Artisan Bread In Five Minutes a Day:
Makes four 1-pound loaves. The recipe is easily doubled or halved.
3 cups lukewarm water
1-1/2 Tbs granulated yeast or 2 packets. I use Red Star active dry yeast
1-1/2 Tbs kosher or sea salt
6-1/2 cups all purpose white flour, I have tried all kinds but the best is King Arthur Flour
Cornmeal for pizza wheel
1. Warm the water slightly: It should feel just a little warmer than body temperature.
2. Add yeast and salt to the water in a 5 quart bowl or, preferably, in a resealable, lidded (not airtight) plastic food container, I did order one straight from King Arthur Flour. It is perfect for this bread and is about $12.oo I think.
3. Mix in the flour-kneading is unnecessary: Add all of the flour at once, measuring it in with dry-ingredient measuring cups, by gently scooping up flour, then sweeping the top level with a knife. Don’t press down into the flour as you scoop or you’ll throw off the measurement by compressing. Mix with a wooden spoon, or I put everything in my Kitchen aid with the dough hook and mix until it is incorporated. Do not knead! Move the dough to your lidded container and cover with the lid loosely. Allow the mixture to rise at room temperature until it begins to collapse ( or at least flattens on the top), approximately 2 hours, depending on the room’s temperature. Longer rising times, up to about 5 hours, will not harm the result.
4. The gluten cloak: don’t knead, just “cloak” and shape a loaf in 30 to 60 seconds. First, prepare a pizza peel by sprinkling it liberally with cornmeal to prevent your loaf from sticking to it when you slide it into the oven. Sprinkle the surface of your dough with flour. Pull up and cut off 1-lb (grapefruit-size) piece of dough, using a serrated knife. Hold the mass of dough in your hands and add a little more flour as needed so it won’t stick to your hands. Gently stretch the surface of the dough around to the bottom on all four side, rotating the ball a quarter-turn as you go. Most of the dusting flour will fall off, it’s not intended to be incorporated into the dough. The bottom of the loaf may appear to be a collection of bunched ends, but it will flatten out and adhere during resting and baking. The correctly shaped final product will be smooth and cohesive. The entire process should take no more than 30 to 60 seconds.
5. Rest the loaf and let it rise on a pizza peel: Place the shaped ball on the cornmeal-covered pizza peel. Allow the loaf to rest on the peel for about 40 minutes.(it doesn’t need to be covered during the rest period).
6. Twenty minutes before baking, preheat the oven to 450F, with a baking stone placed on the middle rack. Place an empty broiler tray for holding water on the shelf below.
7. Dust and slash: Dust the top of the loaf liberally with flour, which will allow the slashing knife to pass without sticking. Slash a 1/4-inch-deep cross, “scallop,” or tic-tac-toe pattern into the top, using a serrated bread knife.
8. After a 20 minute preheat, you’re ready to bake. With a quick forward jerking motion of the wrist, or use a floured spatula, slide the loaf off the pizza peel and on the preheated baking stone. Quickly but carefully pour about 1 cup of hot water from the tap into the broiler tray and close the oven door to trap the steam. Bake for about 30 minutes, or until the crust is nicely browned and firm to the touch. Allow to cool completely, preferably on a wire cooking rack, for best flavor, texture and slicing. Enjoy your nice warm bread with fresh butter!