The idea of bread making has always been intimidating. I’ve played around with yeasted baked goods like doughnuts, cinnamon rolls and pretzels but never the real crusty breads since we usually buy them from speciality bakeries. It was not until I came across a book by Jeff Hertzberg and Zoë François which promised artisan breads in less than 5 minutes a day (remember the no-knead bread craze?) As crazy as it may sound, it did work! After mixing the starter and an overnight rest in the fridge, all it took was about 5 minutes to form and shape the loaf before a second rise.
Finally, the taste test! As the loaf cooled, there was a crackling sound which guaranteed a crisp and chewy crust. Thanks to the high-moisture dough and slow overnight fermentation, the interior was airy, chewy and holey. Flavour-wise, there was a faint sourdough flavour which I hoped had been more intense. The mix of wholegrain and bread flour gave it a pleasant nutty taste too! Nonetheless, it was really satisfying to be able to make your own bread, especially one that looks way more complicated that it really is.
I followed the master recipe exactly as written in “Artisan Bread in Five Minutes a Day,” by Jeff Hertzberg and Zoë François. This book is an absolute gem, especially for novice bread bakers. I’m not reproducing the recipe here for copyright reasons, but there’s always Google (:
*the only variations I did was to use organic unbleached bread flour + wholewheat flour in the dry mix blend. Before the second rise, I made a few diagonal incisions on the surface which gave it a more ‘rustic’ homemade look.