The original MTNMAMA

Tuesday, April 3, 2012

"Bucket Bread and Babies"

It 8 pm and Miss Ella is fed, bathed and swaddled with her favorite "lamby binky" and ready for bed.  Time for Nana to blog and get herself to bed.
Tomorrow is Community Bible Study Day and I am in the children's area....probably rocking babies since I still have the pin in my toe and11 have a fear of one of my 5 year olds crashing into it unexpectedly of course
It is so nice to have everyone home.  Jon will fly in late Friday night for the Easter weekend.  Perfect!!!!


Now onto other things....yes, I am going to post my version of "bucket bread"!!
First of all the basic ingredients are:
Flour, yeast, salt, and water.  How hard it that?  If you are planning on making a lot of bread or practicing a lot I suggest you go to a warehouse store and buy a 25lb bag of flour and your yeast.  The yeast comes in a double package and together with the flour the cost is under $20.  You can make a LOT of bread with these few items  and cheap!!!!  Artisan Bread is $5-10 a loaf in a bakery. need a "bucket".  Pictured are the professional buckets used in the cookbook...
"Artisan Bread in Five Minutes a Day".  Great book!!!  I got it over a year ago and have had so much fun with it.  My version is 90% from the book with a few "tweeks" of my own.
I want to meet Jeff Hertzberg MD. co-author of the book, next year when my daughter and son-in-law are living in Minneapolis, MN.  My son in law will be a fellow at the University of MN in radiology where Jeff Hertzberg is on staff in the Family Medicine Dept.  I think if Family Med wants their radiology studies to be read in a timely fashion there needs to be a meeting between me and "The Five Minute Bread Man"!!!  Don't you agree??
Back to bread..... You certainly don't have to have a "bucket".  Any large container will do....remember that tupperware cake container you got as a wedding gift???  Turn it upside down and it's perfect!  That's what I used before I got the buckets.  Anything with a lid will work...or you could cover it with plastic wrap too.  Remember this is easy and FUN so don't stress out over a container!!
Next the INGREDIENTS for a Basic bread dough:  (This makes 4 loaves (1 pound each)).
6 1/2 cups A-P (all purpose) flour
1 1/2 Tablespoons yeast
1 1/2 tablespoons kosher salt (or other large grain salt)  If using table salt use less (1 Tablespoon)
3 1/2 cups lukewarm water.
Dump flour, salt, and yeast together in bucket.  Give it a stir with a wooden spoon or Danish dough wisk.  The wisk is not necessary to make the bread....a wooden spoon is fine....but it is cool looking and fun to use.  I got mine from King Arthur Flour Company online.
Add your water.  The water should be from the tap and warm.  Remember don't be afraid of the yeast....warm water will activate it and cause it to grow releasing gas and forming those wonder bubbles that give texture to the bread.  This is a very wet dough.  If you have troube mixing the dough  ditch the spoon or wisk and use your hands....clean hands of course!!  Wet you hands first and continue to mix until all the flour is incorporated.
Now set your dough buckets on the counter and let them stand for 2 hours at room temp.  I made two batches and added "stuff" which I will get to later.  Note they are at the 2 quart line.  They should double in 2 hours.
Success!!!!  Well over the 4 quart line in two hours!!!  You can use the dough now but it is VERY sticky and hard to control.  I prefer to let it set at least 12 hours in the fridge.  It can set up to a week so you can make bread anytime you feel like it during that time.  This "slow proofing" process really stabilizes the dough.  The dough ages over the week and only gets better.  Do not SEAL your container at any time.  Leave the lid ajar.  The yeast needs the air to grow!!
Now we wait for bread.......  Queenie is waiting on bread fresh from the oven too!  While we wait I will tell you about the "tweeks" that I added to the dough this week.
After mixing the dry ingredients, before adding the water, I added to bucket #1

Pure Vermont Maple Syrup (1/2 cup and added less water ---3 cups), 1 1/2 tablespoons of Cinnamon and 1 cup chopped pecans.
To Bucket #2:
The zest of two lemons, 2 tablespoon finely chopped rosemary from my garden, and 2 1/2 cups of Guyere Cheese shredded.
Then I mixed each bucket with the appropriate amount of water (3 cups for Maple bucket, 3 1/2 cups for lemon bucket) and sat them on the counter.
Back to the has been overnight and we are ready to bake!!
Preheat Oven to 450 degrees or 425 if you use convection (which I do!)
I prefer the method of baking in large iron or enamel covered dutch ovens with lids.  This traps the steam released from the bread and gives you that nice hard crust.
Put your dutch ovens in the oven and preheat for 30 mintues.  Meanwhile open your bucket and pull a "grapefruit size" portion of dough from the mass.  Remember there is enough for 4 loaves.  I usually make mine a little larger and get 3 loaves from each batch.  Your preference.  Don't be afraid to play with it.   First "cloak" the dough with flour so you can easily shape it with your hands.  Dust top with flour when done.  This helps the "crusty" outer layer and gives that "artisan" look.   This loaf  I elonged into a Oblong shape.  Be creative.  Pull the dough under so all edges are hidden underneath.  I put my loves on a large sheet of parchment paper which works for me to carry the dough and put it into the hot oven.  If you don't want to bake in a dutch oven you can bake on a pizza stone like the one pictured in my oven above.  You can even bake it on a baking stress.  I do believe the dutch oven gets you a better crust though and I have made a LOT of bread over this year of testing and trying it out.  Just before baking be sure to "slash" the loaves to that the steam from the wet dough is released and helps to form the crust. I use a wet serrated knife to "slash".  It works well. This is my Maple Cinnamon Pecan Loaf.  I sprinkled it with brown sugar/cinnamon mix before sliding it into the dutch oven. Yummmmmmm!! 

Now to bake....When the oven is preheated for 30 minutes pick the bread up by the parchment paper and "drop" it into the VERY HOT dutch ovens and immediately put the lids on and close the oven door.  Now we bake for 30 minutes with the lid on. 

When the buzzer goes off, remove the lids from the dutch ovens and continue to bake for 15 minutes.

The bread needs this time to brown and get "crusty".
 See the difference between the crust in the two pictures.  The one on the left is after baking 30 minutes and the lid is just removed.  The one on the right is after 15 more minutes of baking with the lid off.  A total of 45 minutes of baking.  
When the bread is done carefully use the parchment "Handles" to lift the bread to a cooling rack.  Peel the parchment paper off of the bread and throw it away.
Let the bread cool for several minutes if you can stand house smells so GOOD!!

See all those wonderful holes caused by the yeast!  The crumb is "custard like", the crust is chewy and it is all around divine"

Maple Cinnamon Pecan Boule with a "Brule" Crust
Artisan bread fresh from YOUR Oven!!
 The Maple Cinnamon was the fave in our house today but the Lemon was great with dinner too. 
I hope you will TRY these recipe....if you have ANY trouble just ask me for help....if you live nearby we can always arrange for a "hands on" lesson.  Queenie would love to have more bread.....Speaking of which....Come on Queenie it's BREAD TIME!!!

Happy Trails,
Mtn Mama

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