Badass Bread

People of the world! Prepare to be excited, for I have for you an amazing recipe for artisan bread, in your very own kitchen, in five minutes. Give or take about two hours of rise time, which is practically nothing. You can do so much in two hours, after all, like go for a run, take a nap, finish that book you’ve been attempting to finish forever (ahemgabrielgarciamarquezIamlookingatyou) or just drink tea in your adirondack chairs with a good friend. Which is maybe what I did.

That good friend happens to be my good friend Joanna, who taught me how to make badass bread in five minutes. No small feat, considering baking is typically a little too precise for my skill set. I prefer to eyeball and leave the baking to my scientist boyfriend. But, Julie Powell had to de-bone her duck and I have to bake every now and again.

We will hear more from Joanna later this week, but for now, bring on the carbohydrates! Which our culture has taught us to hate, or at least fear, for all sorts of bad things they allegedly do to you. But people. Just this once, let’s be French, oui? Let’s eat bread and drink wine and spend long Sundays with our good friends and not worry about anything else all day – least of all what that delicious bread is doing to our waistlines. And if not all day, at least for two hours and five minutes.

BADASS BREAD AKA, FIVE MINUTE BREAD

Ingredients:

. Three cups lukewarm water

. One and a half tablespoons granulated yeast (two yeast packets from the grocery)

. One tablespoon salt

. Six and a half cups unbleached, all-purpose flour

 

Instructions:

1. Mix the yeast and water in a big mixing bowl – the biggest you have – and let it rest while you measure out the flour and salt.

2. Mix in flour and salt until everything is fully combined. You can do this in a KitchenAid mixer if you are so lucky as to be in possession of one, but I have been operating under the (perhaps mis)apprehension that one does not have a KitchenAid mixer until one is married and gets a mixer as a wedding present from some eccentric, yet well-to-do relative you haven’t seen in several years. And since one is not currently married and knows most of one’s relatives extremely well, one mixed by hand. Or rather, two did. Perhaps it’s because we are “vigilantes and paupers” in the words of Joanna, and we like to do things Laura Ingalls Wilder style. Either way, mixy mix!

3. Cover the dough in Saran wrap and let it rest at room temperature for two hours, but up to five is fine if you are just too too into your tea drinking. Yes, this is a vital step in the process – both the rising of the dough and the drinking of the tea.

4. Peel back the Saran wrap and survey the scene. You’ll see your dough has risen a considerable amount and you couldn’t knead it if you wanted to, which is great, since you won’t be doing any of that. It should be wet, sticky, and nice and stretchy. If it isn’t any of these things, rest it for longer, and perhaps move it to a slightly warmer spot. We used a sunny spot on the dining room table.


5. Preheat the oven to 450. Shake some flour over the top of the dough and pull out as much as you’d like and shape as desired. We made a traditional loaf in a breadpan. See?


6. Let the dough rest for five minutes, and then place it in the over over a baking pan full of water. It seems odd, but the steam from the water will condensate in the oven and give your bread the perfect crispy crust it must have if it is to be the bread of your dreams. This is so vitally important, this pan of water, that I will show you an ugly picture of my oven just to prove my point.

7. Bake for 20-30 minutes, depending on the size, until it’s golden brown and crisp on the outside. Let it rest outside the oven for about ten minutes before slicing in.

8. That’s it! You eat it! With lemon curd, Nutella, raspberry jam, as a sandwich, or just by itself because hello. That’s badass bread.

Thanks, Joanna!

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