Tuesday, February 3, 2015

Experiments, experiments, experiments...

I have discovered in the last few days that not all experimenting needs to be something completely new in every way. Sometimes it can be a new part of something familiar, or a new technique. This past week has been an experiment in both. I have grown things from seed before, but never inside to start before the garden is ready. I have made bread before, but never artisan bread, only ever sandwich bread. Also, I have made pretzels plenty of times, but never gotten that good pretzely flavor of the kind you can buy. So, I guess you get a few things today... Just kidding! I can't share all my secrets today! What would I have to share the rest of the week? And besides, I'm still working on getting good pictures of things...

Artisan Bread

Makes 1 loaf

This is probably the easiest thing I have ever made in my whole entire life. I'm not kidding. It is so easy it is ridiculous. It take 5 minutes to mix up, and that's it until you bake it 8-24 hours later. It's like making dinner in a slow cooker. Mix it up and forget about it. You don't kneed it. You don't shape it. Basically it is the lazy man's bread.

Just one quick note:
1) You really really need to use the dutch oven. I tried it in 2 casserole dishes with tin foil to make bread bowls, and it just didn't turn out the same. There is something about the dutch oven that just makes everything... work.

5 cups flour
2 tsp yeast
1 tsp salt
2 cups warm water

1) Mix everything in a bowl.
2) Cover with a towel, leave in a warm place for 8-24 hours. Seriously, just forget about it. The longer it rises the better it tastes.
3) Preheat the oven to 450 degrees with a dutch oven inside.
4) Dust the bottom of the dutch oven with a light layer of flour. Scrape the whole lot of dough into the dutch oven, cover and bake 30 minutes.
5) If you want a shiny crust, brush on an egg wash at this point. If you don't care, don't worry about it.
6) Bake uncovered for 10-20 minutes, or until nice and golden brown.

Oh! And here is what it looks like:

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