Tuesday, July 31, 2012

My Latest Culinary Adventure: Artisan Bread

I've been hearing great things about a cook book called Artisan Bread in Five Minutes a Day. I finally purchased it and gave it a try.  The loaf below is for the most basic recipe and I can tell you it was a big hit with my family.  There wasn't a crumb left 20 minutes after we sliced into it with dinner and there is only three of us.

My loaf - Looks Great!
The concept of the book is very simple.  Instead of taking a few hours to make a loaf of bread in your home from scratch, this book simplifies everything. The results seem to be even better than what you get when you go to all the work of kneading and rising and resting and so forth.

Artisan Bread in Five Minutes a Day by Jeff Hertzberg MD and Zoe Francois
The dough is a light, wet dough so you can simply mix it up with a wooden spoon.  There is no kneading. Instead of letting it rise in a warm place and coming back to check on it, you pop it in the frig and leave it.  A day or even two weeks later you come back and cut off a portion of the dough, quickly shape it (in your hands--you don't even need to get your counter messy), let it rise on a pizza peel, cut a pretty pattern into the loaf and then pop it into your oven on a hot baking stone.  You pour some hot tap water into a broiler pan for steam and let it bake.  You get a loaf that is crusty on the outside and luscious and flavorful on the inside. And the lovely thing is the longer you leave the dough the more it develops a sourdough flavor.

Dough quickly formed and resting on the pizza peel
The book says 5 minutes a day minus the time the bread is rising and baking and doing it's own thing.  I'm not even sure it took that long.  The 5 minutes must include the small amount of clean up time or time to add the extra ingredients or rolling out time needed in some of the more complex recipes.  They allow 15 minutes on the day you mix the dough--several loaves worth at a time to bake as needed.  I think that only took me about 5 minutes.  I can't wait to try some of the other recipes.  Commercial loaves of rye bread never have enough caraway seeds for my taste.  I'm going to load my artisan rye down with caraway seeds.

There was a little mishap with the first loaf.  My old pizza stone cracked.  For any fan of Dr. Who reading this you'll see that the Crack in the Universe came to my house.


Saturday, July 21, 2012

Easy bracelet display tutorial

I've been meaning to figure out how to make one of these for a while so I've been saving cardboard tubes that are approximately wrist size to do it. But I hadn't figured out how to cap the ends to make them look finished and professional. Then it occurred to me that mailing tubes already are the right size and already have end caps.  This couldn't be easier. I used a scrap of fabric that resembles white Dupioni silk to match my other displays.


* Mailing tube that is wrist size (this one was 7 inches in circumference)
* Thin fabric of your choice (too thick and the end caps won't go on later)
* Matching thread


Cut a piece of fabric to cover the mailing tube.  Measure carefully so that the fabric is just 5/8 inch wider than the circumference of your mailing tube and at least two inches longer.  With right sides together sew the fabric into a long tube with a 1/4 inch seam. I used pinking sheers after sewing to trim the seam and keep the fabric from fraying.  Press seam open using just the tip of the iron.  Turn fabric tube right side out and slip over the mailing tube. It should fit very tightly if you measured correctly. Tuck the raw ends into the tube and slide the end caps on.