CHUsday and Bread’s Baking in the Oven

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If you’ve tuned in for the first time, you can read all about CHUsday and my monthly giveaway here.  Or go to Cookbook Hoarders United under categories and see what we’ve been doing.

The comments have slacked off, so if you’re pulling out old cookbooks, you’re not telling me and entering the giveaway.  Why not make something by the end of the month, tell us what you made and how it went, and enter for September’s autographed book and silly kitchen gadget (Yolky, the amazing egg separator.) Kids are back in school and it’s autumn.  Think soups, or stews, or maybe hot apple pie.  There’s always a wonderful casserole you’ve yet to discover.

Several years ago my youngest son gave me a new bread book, Artisan Bread in Five Minutes A Day by Hertzberg and Francois.  He knew how much I love to make bread, and he thought this would be a fun new addition.  I thought so, too, only I had my own bread ritual, and never quite got into this radically different approach. 

Then this summer friends in New York gave us a wonderful Le Creuset 5 1/2 quart round French oven, much like the one I’ve linked to here at Amazon.  This was the perfect pan to try Artisan bread, so my husband decided to give it a whirl, despite not having the cookbook with us.  Michael likes to cook, but he’d never before made bread.  A quick Internet search found a similar recipe for Sullivan bread from the NY Times, and off he went.  The resulting bread was so good, we were hooked.

Once we returned home, Michael pulled out the Artisan Bread cookbook (Hoarder alert) and read the instructions.  I’d already bought the 6 quart plastic container to store the dough in the fridge, (Hoarder alert #2)  even though I hadn’t used it for that, and I’d also bought a clay pot with a lid (Alert #3) that turned out to be the perfect pan for a long Artisan loaf.  I must have known, right?

King Arthur must have known, too, because the pan I’ve linked to is MUCH more expensive now.  Motto: Sometimes hoarding pays.

The fun part of Artisan bread is that you simply mix the ingredients–lots of flour to make lots of bread–then after a brief sojourn on your counter, you store it in a covered contained in the fridge.  No kneading, no prolonged rising and punching down.  You then use the dough to make bread for the next two weeks.  Michael made his first loaf, small, round and perfect, the next day, and unfortunately we forgot to take a photo.  The one pictured here–dough stage first, then baked–was the second, and higher than it looks in the photo. 

This bread is delicious, nothing like my more traditional loaves, but chewy and flavorful, perfect with those soups and stews I mentioned before.    We’re finishing the first batch of dough tomorrow when I make a pot of vegetable soup and spaetzle. There are lots of options in the cookbook, so Michael will probably try something different, but the one pictured is the Peasant Bread, with a little rye and a little whole wheat.  Like all cooking, there’s a learning curve, but even the mistakes have turned out.  This method truly is nearly foolproof.

I highly recommend this cookbook.  Very definitely worth hoarding.  If you’ve never been successful making bread, this is the book for you.

14 Responses to “CHUsday and Bread’s Baking in the Oven”

  1. Rose says:

    Love this weather. So far 2 loaves of Challah, and two loaves of pumpkin bread.

  2. JoAn GODFREY says:

    i pulled out a very old cookbook for a cake recipe….fluffo’s creative cooking made easy. the chocolate cake recipe looked almost as easy as a box mix. i made it for a corvette event. not much left at the end of the day. it is definitely on the list to make another and try the white cake on the same page!!!!!! this cookbook came from my mom’s stash. it was printed in 1956.

  3. Thanks, JoAn. Those old cookbooks are so much fun, aren’t they? Nostalgic journeys.

  4. Rose, if by chance any of those recipes were from cookbooks you hadn’t used in a year, or new cookbooks, be sure to let us know so you’re entered in the CHU giveaway. All your loaves make my mouth water.

  5. Liz says:

    A blog on Sue Grafton reminded me that I envy Kinsey her retired baker neighbor.
    http://lesasbookcritiques.blogspot.com/2011/09/sue-grafton-blog-tour-q-is-for-quarry.html

  6. Ah yes, a baker next door. Talk about a fabulous fantasy?

  7. That looks yummy. Thanks for the link. Have you made anything from an unused cookbook yet? Two days yet to enter.

  8. Liz says:

    All of my cookbooks are packed away, from a kitchen remodeling. A major sort is overdue. But I am enjoying all the efforts of everyone else.

  9. Oh, what fun. Did that once and washed dishes in the bathroom, but it’s very much worth the hassle. Hope you did before photos to compare.

  10. If I had read your post before selecting my recipe for this month I would have at least picked a different recipe — but I didn’t read it, so this afternoon I made my first loaf of European Peasant Bread from Artisan Bread in 5 Minutes a Day. I whipped up the dough yesterday morning – had planned to make the brioche dough, but it requires honey and eggs and lots of butter – none of which I had on hand in the right quantities, so I went with the Peasant Bread. It calls for the basic ingredients – water, yeast, kosher salt and unbleached flour – plus 1/2 c each of rye and whole wheat flour, both of which I did have on hand. Our daughter and son-in-law were here for dinner so most of the first loaf is gone. It is so easy to make these basic breads, and the texture and taste are both great. Very different from what you get from a bread machine, plus no blade to dig out! As long as hubby doesn’t say anything about the bread tasting too salty, I will continue to follow the recipe exactly, but at some point might reduce it just a bit. I’ll be having the last of this loaf in the morning with jam.

  11. I also tried another new recipe today. All 4 of our children are vegetarian of one stripe or another, so I am always on the look out for a recipe that I can fix for them that hubby and I will like too, even though it doesn’t have meat in it. Since one of our daughters and her family were coming to dinner tonight, last night I pulled out Pillsbury’s Easy Vegetarian Meals – one of those small paperback cookbooks that are pubished frequently and look delicious there beside the checkout counter. Finally settled on the broccoli rice quiche. I usually make a quiche with Bisquick but this recipe is different because it uses 3/4 c. of brown or white rice as the thickener. I used brown which I like better than white. I might try it next time with white because the brown almost seemed like it wasn’t quite cooked enough. Other ingredients included milk and eggs, dijon mustard, chopped onion, shredded Swiss cheese, pimientos and chopped fresh broccoli. Everyone seemed to like it except their 2-year old, but she did eat some raw broccoli on her own, so that was good. Next time I might put just a little salt in it as the recipe did not call for any. This coming weekend we are having a big family gathering at our house – including all 4 of our kids – so I may be going back to this cookbook for more inspiration for the meal.

  12. Tina says:

    We have been on a soup kick and recently tried Roasted Red Pepper and Corn Soup from the cookbook “The New American Plate.” We have had the cookbook less than a year and have made a few of the recipes. All of them have been good! This soup recipe is a real keeper.

  13. Doesn’t that sound yummy?

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