Saturday, November 22, 2008

Artisan Bread in Five Minutes a Day

    Every day, my Portuguese grandmother would part her long grey hair down the middle. She'd make two braids then wind each braid up like a pinwheel. Using bobby pins, she'd fasten a pinwheel above each ear. Then she put on her bib-apron and went to the kitchen. When she wasn't in the kitchen she might be sitting in front of the television set watching The Guiding Light or As the World Turns. She didn't speak English, but she understood what was going on in those soaps!

    I remember her making Portuguese Sweet Bread. She would be leaning over the table kneading (and kneading and kneading!) an enormous ball of dough. When the dough had been kneaded, she would put it in a big bowl and cover it with a clean towel. After the dough had risen, she'd lift a corner of the towel and poke two fingers into the dough. If the indentations stayed, it was ready to be baked. Into the oven! At Easter she put an egg on top of the dough before baking. That was the best bread ever! This is my grandmother and grandfather on their wedding day in 1916.

    I like to make bread. My hair isn't long enough to braid, I don't wear an apron (hence my food-stained t-shirts), and I let my Kitchen Aid to do the kneading. Couldn't be much easier.

    Oh, wait... it could be easier!
    Artisan Bread in Five Minutes a Day. Five minutes? Artisan bread? The bread with the slashes in the crisp and crusty, floury, perfect-looking bread? The kind of bread that I would love to be able to bake and bring to the table?
    In their book Artisan Bread in Five Minutes a Day, authors Jeff Hertzberg and Zoe Francois tell us how to mix up a batch of wet dough and store it in the refrigerator - for up to two weeks! On baking day, cut off a piece of dough, form it, let it rise for 20 minutes and bake! If you're having company, cut off a big piece of dough... if it's just you in the mood for some delicious bread, cut off a small piece!
    No, this isn't a picture from the book. No, I didn't run down to the bakery and take this picture to impress you. I baked it last night! The crust on this bread was so crunchy, so crackly, so perfect!

    If you want to have fun and bake bread that looks like this without going here or here, all you have to do is order the book from here!

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Artisan Bread in Five Minutes a Day

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