Bread

Bread in 5

bread in 5

Let’s just get right into it, cause who wants to hear me babble about the unimportant things I have going on in my life anyway. What the hell is bread in 5 you ask? Solid question.

here’s the rundown…

-First, you make a bunch of dough and keep it in your fridge (this recipe makes enough dough for about 3-4 loaves depending on how large you like ’em). Then, whenever you want some delicious, fresh bread, you shape a loaf and bake it. Hence the name, bread in 5. Pretty great considering how much FREAKING TIME IT TAKES TO MAKE BREAD.

Am I angry about that? A little. Yeah.

-I like to weigh my flour. The reason I started doing this is because my dough was turning out way too watery and loose. Come to find out, I needed to be putting in an extra cup of flour. Kill me. I don’t want to talk about it.

-The dough can be kept in the fridge for up to 2 weeks.

-You can sub out whole wheat flour for some of the all-purpose flour.

-I basically use a box cutter to make the slashes on top of the bread. Use what you got, like a really sharp ass knife. Obviously the sharper the better because you don’t want to deflate your bread.

-If you have a dutch oven (that can withstand an oven temperature of 450 degrees), you can use that to bake your bread in (directions will be below). I don’t have one, so I either use my cast iron pan, or just a regular sheet pan.

-And lastly, get ready to turn your oven up real high! Every time I make bread, my smoke alarm goes off. It’s tradition.

I get it though, making homemade bread can be a pain in the ass. Oh trust me I know. But once in a while, it’s worth it.

I mean look at that golden crust. She purdy.

Cut yourself a slice, spread some butter on there, sprinkle some salt. HEAVEN. Get some cheese, a little salami, olives, some nuts, pour yourself a glass of wine. Oh baby. There will be no regrets, no regrets I tell you!

bread in 5

Bread, bread, bread, shove some in your mouth and you’ll be happy.

That’s all I got. Here’s to carbs! Cheers!

bread in 5

Bread in 5

Print Recipe
Serves: 3-4 loaves

Ingredients

  • 3 cups (1 1/2 pounds) lukewarm water (you can use cold water, but it will take the dough longer to rise. Just don’t use hot water or you may kill the yeast)
  • 1 tablespoon granulated yeast (you can use any kind of yeast including: instant, “quick,” rapid rise, bread machine, or active dry)
  • 1 to 1 1/2 tablespoons Morton Kosher Salt (adjust to suit your taste or eliminate it all together)
  • 6 1/2 cups (2-pounds) all-purpose flour

Instructions

1

In a 5 or 6 quart bowl, pot, or lidded dough bucket, dump in the water, and add the yeast and salt. Because the flour is mixed in so quickly it doesn’t matter that the salt and yeast are thrown in together.

2

Dump in the flour all at once and stir with a long handled wooden spoon. Stir it until all of the flour is incorporated into the dough. It will be a wet rough dough.

3

Put the lid on the container or pot, but do not close it shut. You want the gases from the yeast to escape. Allow the dough to sit at room temperature for about 2 hours to rise. When you first mix the dough it will not occupy much of the container. But, after the initial 2 hour rise it will pretty much fill it. DO NOT PUNCH DOWN THE DOUGH! Just let it settle by itself. The dough will be flat on the top and some of the bubbles may even appear to be popping. (If you intend to refrigerate the dough after this stage it can be placed in the refrigerator even if the dough is not perfectly flat. The yeast will continue to work even in the refrigerator.) The dough can be used right after the initial 2 hour rise, but it is much easier to handle when it is chilled. It is intended for refrigeration and use over the next two weeks, ready for you anytime. The flavor will deepen over that time, developing sourdough characteristics.

4

The next day when you pull the dough out of the refrigerator you will notice that it has collapsed and this is totally normal for the dough. It will never rise up again in the container. Dust the surface of the dough with a little flour, just enough to prevent it from sticking to your hands when you reach in to pull a piece out. You should notice that the dough has a lot of stretch once it has rested. (If your dough breaks off instead of stretching like this your dough is probably too dry and you can just add a few tablespoons of water and let it sit again until the dough absorbs the additional water.)

5

Cut off a 1-pound piece of dough (I usually go for a larger piece though) using kitchen shears and form it into a ball. Place the ball on a sheet of parchment paper… (or rest it on a generous layer of corn meal on top of a pizza peel.)

6

Let the dough rest for at least 40 minutes, (although letting it go 60 or even 90 minutes will give you a more open hole structure in the interior of the loaf. This may also improve the look of your loaf and prevent it from splitting on the bottom.) You will notice that the loaf does not rise much during this rest, in fact it may just spread sideways, this is normal for this dough. You can also try our “refrigerator rise trick,” shaping the loaves and then immediately refrigerating them overnight. By morning, they’ll have risen and are ready for the oven after a brief room-temp rest while the oven preheats.

7

Preheat the oven to 450 degrees with a baking stone, cast iron pan, or baking sheet on the center rack. Or alternatively, you can preheat a dutch oven as well, just make sure it can withstand an oven temperature of 450 degrees (a 7 1/4 quart pot to great to bake a 1 1/2 pound loaf of bread). Place a metal broiler tray or a metal roasting pan on the bottom rack (never use a glass vessel for this or it will shatter). This will be used to produce steam. (The tray needs to be at least 4 or 5 inches away from your stone to prevent it from cracking.) If you are using a dutch oven, you don't need to worry about a metal roasting pan. All the steam is produced inside the dutch oven itself.

8

Cut the loaf with 1/4-inch slashes using a very sharp serrated knife. (If your slashes are too shallow you will end up with an oddly shaped loaf and also prevent it from splitting on the bottom.) If your dough is collapsing when you make the slashes, it may be that the dough has overproofed or your knife it dull and dragging the dough too much.

9

Slide the loaf into the oven onto a preheated stone, cast iron pan, baking sheet or dutch oven and add a cup of hot water to the broiler tray. (If using a dutch oven, place the lid on the pot once the loaf is in there. After 15 minutes of baking remove the lid. The dough only needs to bake in the steam for that amount of time. Now it's time to get a lovely caramel color to the bread. Bake for another 15-20 minutes, depending on the size of the loaf. Once the loaf is nicely browned, carefully remove it from the pot with a spatula and let cool on a wire rack).

10

Bake the bread for 30-35 minutes or until a deep brown color. As the bread bakes you should notice a nice oven spring in the dough. This is where the dough rises. If you used parchment paper you will want to remove it after about 20-25 minutes to crisp up the bottom crust. Continue baking the loaf directly on the stone for the last 5-10 minutes.

11

Allow the loaf to cool on a rack until it is room temperature. If you cut into a loaf before it is cooled you will have a tough crust and a gummy interior.

Notes

Recipe by Jeff Hertzberg and Zoe Francois.

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