The method is from Artisan Bread in Five Minutes a Day by Jeff Hertzberg, M.D., and Zoe Francois.
It really doesn't take much time at all and once you do it a couple of times, it is even easier.
1) Stir up the dough.
2) Let dough rise specified time or longer, it isn't fussy. Refrigerate.
3) Shape a loaf and let it rest, again, it isn't fussy if it sits a little longer than specified.
4) Bake. Cool. Eat.
The equipment list is what held me back at first. I didn't have was a pizza peel or a 6-quart food safe container. Although I probably could have made a cutting board work if I'd tried, my mom-in-law gave me a pizza peel for my birthday.
The biggest hurdle was the need for a 6-quart food safe plastic container and the space it required in the refrigerator. The ones I found in stores and online seemed too expensive for what might turn out to be a one-time experiment. In the end, I decided that an ice cream pail was an acceptable food safe container. Since we never get rid of them (you should see the stack of them), I was able to find a couple old ones that are larger than they make them now.
The ice cream pail works great, but I wish I had a picture of the soft American-style white bread dough that overflowed the pail during it's initial rise. I had left the dough to rise while I was out one evening and when I returned home, everyone was hootin' and howlin' with glee over the dough that was taking over the kitchen!
|Add three or so tiny holes along the rim and in the center of the lid with a nail or sewing awl for gasses to escape.|
The bonus to mixing up half a batch, is it's easy to stir by hand, no mixer required.
|Cutting the dough to make one loaf.|
|Shaped loaf resting before baking.|
|Slashed loaf, ready for the oven.|
My baking stone is a Pampered Chef large round baking stone and it is what is now referred to as the "old" stone. On the Bread in Five website, there are several comments regarding Pampered Chef stones as cracking and some speculation that it is the "new" stone. So far my old stone doesn't show any signs of trouble from being preheated. I am very careful not to spill any water on it when adding water to the broiler pan.
|Loaf in oven (sorry for the blur, I was in a hurry to keep oven heat).|
|Finished loaf, just trying my best to let it cool completely before cutting!|
P.S. Yes, do store the soft American-style bread in a plastic bag to keep the crust soft.