Are you like the little red hen? Have you always wanted to make homemade bread, but didn’t want to take precious time to savor just one loaf? I’ve discovered an easy dough, mixed in 5 minutes, that makes four loaves of bread and much more. Let me share a 101 tutorial to get you excited and say, “I can do that.”
First, it’s important for you to remove your flour from the original 5 pound bag. Place it in a canister of some sort. This allows you to stir your flour and do the scoop and sweep method easily without making a mess. Wonderful white whole wheat flours to try are King Arthur white whole wheat or Eagle Mills white whole wheat blend or you can mix unbleached all-purpose and white whole wheat flour half and half in recipes. Regular whole wheat ground from red berries works, but you will have a heavier denser product.
Gently stir your flour with a large spoon and lightly spoon it into your one cup measuring cup. Don’t dip and pack it in. This is where a lot of people make a mistake. When you dip and pack it down, you’re over measuring. Imagine the extra flour you’ve measured when you’ve dipped and packed seven times. Yep, that’s why the product is dry. So, lightly scoop and sweep the excess off with a butter knife.
Continue measuring all your dry ingredients in this plastic shoe box. For this canola oil recipe, I’ve measured 7 cups of flour, 1-1/2 tablespoons yeast *(2 packages of yeast), 1 tablespoon kosher salt, 1/4 cup vital wheat gluten. Whisk the dry ingredients together.
*I buy my yeast at Sams in bulk, 2lbs for $4. It lasts me over a year. Each pound is vacuum sealed. You can store yeast in the freezer. Ask a friend or neighbor to pick this item up for you if you don’t have a membership. Or split with someone. You’ll be making a lot of bread.
Another important step is to use your glass measuring cup for liquids. This is the most accurate way to measure liquids. I measure 3-1/2 cups lukewarm water and bend down at eye level to see if the bottom of the liquid touches the 3 -1/2 mark. You’re not going to get an accurate measure if you hold it in the air and look because the water is moving.
Stir with a large spoon until thoroughly mixed and there are no dry patches. You’re not kneading the dough, only mixing until it’s incorporated.
Your dough should look sticky, but not dry and not too wet. However, this dough is forgiving, especially if it’s on the wet side. I’ll show you after the rise. Cover it with the lid and allow it to rest at room temperature for two hours.
Your dough will rise after 2 hours and collapse in the fridge. It’s best chilled in the fridge for a few hours before you work with it. I usually let mine sit in the fridge for a day before I make something. You can freeze this dough and thaw 24 hours hour before baking day. I’ve done this and had the same great results. I’ve found my dough to be on the sour side, which some like sourdough, after day five. 100% white whole wheat sours quicker than a mixture of half and half or the Eagle Mills flour. I find the flavor the best within 3 days after the dough is prepared. That is why I usually make all my products at once and then cool and freeze, plus it’s convenient, time and money saving.
Freezing: Dust portions with flour and freeze separately in quart size bags. Thaw 24 hours in the fridge before baking day.
Your dough will look like this once it’s risen.
Baking Day: I dust the portion I’m using with flour. If I’m using all the dough, I dust the entire top. If I’m using one portion, 1/3 to 1/4 of a pound, I dust that portion only. I flour my hands and pinch it off. If my dough is on the wet side, I add more flour as necessary. If it’s on the dry side, less flour is needed. The stickiness of the dough depends on the humidity.
I take the portion I’m using and proceed to quickly shape a round ball and tuck and turn as I go with floured hands. I knead it a few times for a better rise, no more than three or four folds, simply make it smooth. I put mine on a floured silpat. A piece of parchment or wax paper or tupperware mat works, too. Parchment is handy because it can go straight into the oven. Roll it out into a rectangle if you’re making cinnamon rolls . I bake immediately after I’ve prepared it.
I allow bread loaves to set at room temperature up to 2 hours. The authors of Artisan Bread in Five Minutes, recommends 1-1/2 hours, if you’re making a free form loaf or sandwich loaf.
Check out all the posts on Artisan dough on this site and the different products you can make. I make crusty authentic Artisan bread without the oil, sandwich thins, cinnamon rolls, cinnamon bread, pizza crust, calzones, naan and more. The original cookbook, is available at most public libraries. Also, the author’s website, artisanbreadinfive, is helpful with videos.
I hope this post inspired you to try this easy 5 minute dough and bake homemade bread. I also hope it inspires you to give a loaf away because you will have three to four loaves when you make this recipe. I’d love to hear your comments and share my experience making this dough for three years.