5-Minute Artisan Bread

There is nothing better than the smell of fresh baked bread. The pleasant smell that permeates through the house makes my mouth water. With my full time job taking me away from home during the day, it's difficult to find the time necessary to bake fresh bread. I try to give myself time during the weekend to bake several loaves of bread and then freeze at least one for a time when life gets too busy. I first heard about 5-Minute Artisan Bread from a patient who tried to stay away from processed foods. This is quick and easy recipe that works well during a busy week. The longer it sits in the refrigerator the more "sourdough" it tastes.

5-Minute Artisan Bread

Ingredients:

Yield: 4 (1 pound) loaves

  • 3 cups lukewarm water
  • 1 1⁄2 tablespoons granulated yeast or 2 (7 1/4 g) packets granulated yeast
  • 1 1⁄2 tablespoons kosher salt or 1 1⁄2 tablespoons other coarse salt
  • 6 1⁄2 cups unsifted unbleached all-purpose flour (not strong)

Directions:

Warm the water slightly. It should feel just a little warmer than body temperature. Warm water will rise the dough to the right point for storage in about 2 hours. With cold water it will need 3-4 hours.

Add the yeast to the water in a 5 quart bowl or, preferably, in a re-sealable, lidded (not airtight) plastic food container or food-grade bucket. Don't worry about getting it all to dissolve.

Mix in the flour and salt - kneading is unnecessary. Add all of the flour at once, measuring it in with dry-ingredient measuring cups, by gently scooping up the flour, then sweeping the top level with a knife or spatula. Don't press down into the flour as you scoop or you'll throw off the measurement. Mix with a wooden spoon, a high-capacity food processor (14 cups or larger) fitted with the dough attachment, or a heavy duty stand mixer fitted with the dough hook until the mixture is uniform. If you're hand mixing and it becomes too difficult to incorporate all the flour with the spoon, you can reach into your mixing vessel with very wet hands and press the mixture together. Don't knead, it isn't necessary. You're finished when everything is uniformly moist, without dry patches. It takes a few minutes, and will yield a dough that is wet and loose enough to conform to the shape of its container.

Allow to rise. Cover with lid (not airtight or it could explode the lid off). Allow the mixture to rise at room temperature until it begins to collapse (or at least flattens on the top), approx. 2 hours, depending on room temperature, and initial water temperature longer rising times, up to 5 hours, won't harm the result.

You can use a portion of the dough any time after this period. Fully refrigerated dough is less sticky and easier to work with than dough at room temperature.

On Baking Day:

Prepare your loaf tin, tray, or whatever you're baking it in/on. Sprinkle the surface of your refrigerated dough with four. Pull up and cut of a grapefruit-size piece of dough (about 1 lb), using a serrated knife.

Hold the mass of dough in your hands and add a little more flour as needed so it won't stick to your hands. Gently stretch the surface of the dough around to the bottom on all 4 sides, rotating the ball a quarter-turn as you go. Most of the dusting flour will fall off - that's fine, it isn't meant to be incorporated. The bottom of the loaf may appear to be a collection of bunched ends, but it will sort itself out during resting and baking.

The correctly shaped final product will be smooth and cohesive. The entire process should take no more than 30 - 60 seconds.

Rest the loaf and let it rise in the form, on the tray/pizza peel, for about 40 minutes Depending on the age of the dough, you may not see much rise during this period. That's fine, more rising will occur during baking.

Twenty minutes before baking, preheat the oven to 450°F. Place an empty broiler tray for holding water on any other shelf that won't interfere with the rising bread.

Dust and Slash. Dust the top of the loaf liberally with flour, which will allow the slashing knife to pass without sticking. Slash a quarter inch deep cross, diagonal lines, or tic-tac-toe pattern on top using a serrated knife.

After a 20 minutes of preheat, you're ready to bake, even though the oven thermometer won't be at full temperature yet. Put your loaf in the oven. Pour about 1 cup of hot water (from the tap) into the broiler tray and close the oven to trap the steam (this is what makes the crust hard and the inside moist.)

Bake for about 30 minutes, or until the crust is nicely browned and firm to the touch.

Store the rest of the dough in the fridge in your lidded (not airtight) container and use it over the next 14 days. The flavor and texture improves, becoming like sourdough. Even 24 hours of storage improves the flavor.

Adapted from www.recipes.com

Low Fat Chocolate Zucchini Bread

When my youngest daughter was small, she would ask for "bikini" bread! My mother was always kind enough to accommdate this small request and enjoyed declious, sweet bread.  Most sweet bread recipes call for a lot of oil, which turns me off in baking this type of bread for my family.  However, because of the addition of applesauce in the recipe, the fat is marginal in this moist dessert.  The chocolate satisfies those cravings for those of us who need a little chocolate from time to time. Enjoy!

Low Fat Chocolate Zucchini Bread

  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 3 TBSP vegetable
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 cup applesauce
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 TBSP unsweetened cocoa
  • 1 1/4 tsp baking soda
  • 1 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1 1/2 cups finely shredded zucchini
  • 1/2 cup semisweet chocolate chips
  • cooking spray

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 350°
  2. Place first 3 ingredients in a large bowl; beat with a mixer at low speed until well blended. Stir in applesauce.
  3. Combine flour and the next 4 ingredients (through salt), stirring well with a whisk. Add flour mixture to sugar mixture, beating until just moist. Stir in zucchini and chocolate chips. Spoon batter into a 9x5-inch loaf pan coated with cooking spray.  Bake at 350º for 1 hour or until a wooden toothpick inserted in center comes out almost clean.
  4. Cool before serving.

Low Fat Cranberry & Blueberry Muffins

Thankfully cranberries last a long time in the refrigerator.  During the Thanksgiving and Christmas season, I do a lot of cooking and baking.  There are quite a few desserts that call for fresh cranberries and duing this time of year, they are easily found in the grocery stores.  Any leftovers can be frozen and added to recipes later.  Using unsweetened applesauce eliminates the need for added fat.  Instead of refined sugar, I have replaced it with honey.  Using almond milk will further cut out calories and making this treat dairy-free. Hint:  use foil-lined cups to prevent sticking.

Low-Fat Cranberry and Blueberry Muffins

1 egg
3/4 cup almond milk
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 whole wheat flour
2 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp cinnamon
1/4 cup honey
1/2 cup unsweetened applesauce
1/2 cup blueberries, fresh or frozen, thawed
1/2 cup cranberries, fresh or frozen, thawed

Directions:

Combine all ingredients in a bowl, except berries.  Once combined, stir in berries.  Pour into prepared muffin tin.  Bake at 375° for 20 minutes or until lightly brown.

Yield: 12 muffins

Cornmeal Cornbread

One of my nieces is gluten intolerant.  It's really no fun to see food and not be able to eat it. When she comes to visit, I try to make all foods served be gluten free. I set out on a quest to find a cornbread recipe that didn't contain white flour.  This recipe has been enjoyed by all.  Because we have a large family, I double the recipe and use a large cast iron skillet to bake it in.  Actually, I often double if even if we don't have a lot of eaters, so we can enjoy leftovers! If doubling, give double the time to bake as well.

 Cornmeal Cornbread

  • 1 3/4 cup cornmeal
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 2 eggs
  • 2 TBSP honey
  • 2 cups milk
  • 2 TBSP melted butter

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven 450 degrees.
  2. Grease a 10 inch cast iron skillet or an 8x8 pan.
  3. In a small bowl, combine cornmeal, baking powder, and salt.  Whisk well with fork.
  4. In a medium sized bowl, beat eggs and mix in honey, milk, and melted butter.
  5. Pour the dry ingredients into the wet and mix until just combined.
  6. Pour batter into prepared pan and place in oven.
  7. Bake at 20-25 minutes or until a knife or toothpick comes out clean.
  8. Allow to cool.

Eunice's Bread

My good friend, Eunice, shared this recipe with me a while back.  Incredibly, she bakes all her bread she serves to her family and friends. During a dinner conversation, I voiced what a difficult time I was having trying to find a whole wheat bread recipe.  During dinner, Eunice shared her homemade bread with me.  The texture and taste what what I had been looking for. This is the best whole-wheat bread recipe I have made.  Many recipes claim to be whole-wheat, but upon looking at the ingredients, all-purpose flour is listed.  While many people like the texture of a flour blend, this bread contains gluten, which helps the bread to rise and give a nice texture. My youngest daughter, Emily, who claims to dislike wheat bread, asks me when I plan to bake more of Eunice's bread!  Her favorite way to enjoy this wholesome goodness is fresh from the oven with a pat of butter and home-made black raspberry jam. I usually make two loaves of bread, which means I double the ingredients.

Eunice's Bread

Ingredients:

  • 10 ounces of water (100-110 degrees F)
  • 1 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1/2 TBSP butter (or coconut oil)
  • 1/4 cup honey
  • 1 1/2 TBSP gluten
  • 3 cups whole wheat flour
  • 1 1/2 tsp yeast

Directions:

  1. Place the ingredients listed in a heavy-duty mixer in the order listed.
  2. Mix on slow for 15 seconds gradually increasing the speed a little until the dough pulls away from the sides into a ball. (Dry dough in colder months will knock while mixing...add drops of water. Wet dough will look like batter...sprinkle with flour.)
  3. I make a proofer by putting a large cookie sheet with hot water on the bottom rack of the oven.  Turn on the oven to 200 degrees.  When it reaches the temperature, turn the oven OFF.
  4. Cover the dough bowl with a damp towel.
  5. Set bowl in the oven to rise for 2 hours.
  6. Divide the dough in half.  Roll out dough to approximately 9x12 rectangle and roll starting with the short end.
  7. Place seam side down in greased pan turning the ends down.
  8. With a fork, poke several holes across the top to remove any air pockets OR with a sharp knife, score diagonal slits on top, if desired.
  9. Set the loaves on the stove top under a light to rise until doubled.  May be 1-2 inches above the pan.
  10. Bake at 350 degrees for 30 minutes or until golden brown and sounds hollow when knocked.
  11. Remove from pans onto cooling rack.  May rub with butter on top to keep bread soft.

NOTE:  Half of the loaf of bread was devoured before this photo was uploaded!