Let me just preface this post by saying that I’ve never baked bread in my life before. I don’t even know how to bake cookies and cakes properly, so for me baking bread was up there with playing a la Mozart style. Impossible.
Yet I’ve just made my first bread from scratch with only 4 ingredients: flour, yeast, salt and water. Without kneading. In only 5 minutes.
It all started when I was looking on Youtube at recipes for making crepes. Somehow I glanced to the right, to the list of similar videos, and I saw one video that promised us to make a bread that literally anyone can do, in only 5 minutes. I got curious and watched. And I jumped over to their website, watched some more videos, read some posts, and next thing I know I was clicking on the Buy button at Amazon to get the book called The New Artisan Bread In Five Minutes.
The reason I bought the new version is because the old one had some errata, some mistakes in printing, and in addition the new edition has some extra recipes that are worth getting as well.
As soon as the book arrived, I went out to buy the tools and ingredients needed. Now, if you’re already baking bread or at least pizza, or if you’re baking cakes and other yummie goodies, then you will probably already have some of the tools below. However as I mentioned above, I’m a newbie baker with no tools and utensils under my belt at all.
So this is what I bought:
- A kitchen oven thermometer since I have no idea how much heat my oven actually takes. (you can get one here
- A baking stone to place the bread on it when baking. I could have also used an unglazed ceramic tile, but I really wanted to get it right the first time around with the food grade utensils. (I have pretty much this one
- A pizza peel to put the bread in the oven and take it out with ease (I have one like this except mine has no wooden handle)
- A kitchen scale for measuring the ingredients (I have to admit, I never had a kitchen scale before), I bought the Salter brand because it’s aquatronic (an use both with grams and with liquid as well).
Now granted these utensils and tools cost a bit to buy them all together, but the good thing is, I bought them once and they should last me for a long time. Plus each of them can be used in so many ways (I’ll also use the kitchen scale to measure supplements and herbs on it, for example).
Having armed myself with everything I needed to have in order to bake my first bread, I also bought all purpose flower (you can use any flour, even gluten free if you want) and some yeast. For salt I used my favorite type, Himalayan pink salt. I’ve stopped using regular table salt since I learned just how unhealthy that particular type is for us.
Having read through the main recipe in the book, I put everything together in a big plastic tupperware bowl (the book recommends a plastic bucket, but since the bowl suited me just well, I didn’t need to buy anything else for it), and started mixing it lightly.
I was initially expecting some extra work, but I was surprised to learn that all I needed to do is simply mix everything together: the one spoon of salt, the spoon of yeast, the cups of flower and the water. I was afraid I’d get lumps from the flower, but it didn’t happen. After mixing for a few minutes, I left it to set for about 2 hours, after which I put the dough in the fridge.
The next day I took about a grapefruit size from the dough and placed the rest back in the fridge. I added some flour to the small dough and lightly made it into a ball, placing it on the pizza peel (the video below will show you just how to do it – very easy!). Then I let it sit for about 40 minutes, and at the 10 minute mark I turned on the oven for preheating, with the baking stone in it.
At around the 40-45 minute mark, I placed the round dough from the pizza peel to the baking stone in the oven, added a bit of hot water to the metal cup below (the idea is to get steam going in the oven, that will give that nice shine and crispiness to the bread) and let it all bake at 230 C (around 450 F) while I was pacing back and forth in my kitchen. Afterall it was my first ever bread. What if I burned it? What if the inside was all mushy and useless to eat?
When the bread was in the oven for about 42 minutes, I opened the oven with trepidation. The moment of truth has arrived!
I was literally shocked to see a nice browned bread, still sizzling and so crispy to the touch. I wanted so much to cut the first piece, but the book advised to leave the bread to cool first. It took some strong willpower, but finally after about one hour of waiting, I dug in: I cut the first loaf.
And I almost fainted from pleasure. I kid you not! The bread was nice crispy on the outside, but so fresh and yummie on the inside, soft, well done and tasty! I was afraid maybe I put too little salt, too much flower, too little this, too much of that…
But it turned out just perfect!
Hubby came home in the evening and we ate the entire small bread during dinner. I was, of course, worried that he won’t like my bread: he loved it!
In the meantime I’ve made a second bread from the same dough (which can stay for up to 14 days in the fridge), and there is dough for two more breads. Once I’ve finished this, I’ll experiment with different other flours and will try other recipes. From only this book I can do recipes for years and not finish the book.
It’s been now 2 days since I baked my first bread and I still can believe that I am actually baking bread! I was always so afraid to even look at how they do it. It always seemed so difficult with all that kneading and starter and proofing the yeast…Not anymore, because I don’t even need to do all those things at all.
I love my new bread and I love the fact that I can bake a bread with just a few minutes of my time (2-3 a day once the dough is already prepared in the fridge), with the rest of the time doing anything else while the bread is baking in the oven. And oh the smell of fresh bread that comes from the oven! Pure heaven!
If you’re afraid to bake bread, or if you’re not baking because it seems to take too long for a single bread, give this recipe and book a try. If I can do it, anyone can!