Make your own bread

The Star Democrat - - COMICS & PUZZLES -

CLOSE TO HOME by John McPher­son

For years, I’d had some­what of a love-hate re­la­tion­ship with bak­ing bread.

Sev­eral years ago, the out­ra­geous price for de­cent bread was met head­long by a book and its in­trigu­ing ti­tle: “Ar­ti­san Bread in 5 Min­utes a Day.”

If what I was see­ing was cor­rect and the ti­tle was not a trick, this would qual­ify as “too good to be true.”

It’s true, but not too good to be true.

On most Satur­days,

I take about 10 min­utes to make up the Mas­ter Recipe. (Find it on­line at www.ar­ti­san­bread­in­five.com, com­plete with pho­tos and de­tailed in­struc­tions.)

The in­gre­di­ents are sim­ple: wa­ter, flour, yeast and salt. That’s it. No eggs, oil or sugar. I mea­sure the in­gre­di­ents and mix to in­cor­po­rate. I pick up the bowl, dump the dough into my proof­ing box (a 40cup plas­tic con­tainer with a lid), leave it on the counter for two hours and then move it to the re­frig­er­a­tor. All of this takes just a few min­utes and makes enough dough for eight small loaves that will last two weeks in the fridge.

When I want to bake a loaf, I open the box, grab a wad of dough, dust it with a lit­tle flour, shape it quickly and set it on a wooden peel. As the oven heats and I do other things, there it sits for 40 min­utes to an hour. I place it on a bak­ing stone and pop it into the oven, and in about 30 min­utes we have fresh, Euro­pean bak­ery-style bread that is just to die for.

Since I be­came a BYOBer, I’ve used the mas­ter dough to make bread­sticks, soft pret­zels, pizza and din­ner rolls.

Here’s the best part: A de­cent loaf of bread at my gro­cery store is now clos­ing in on $4. A loaf of my home­made ar­ti­san bread? That costs about 40 cents. EV­ERY­DAY CHEAPSKATE

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