Making bread from scratch is simple as long as you have time and patience. Old techniques of kneading and shaping are over-rated. This bread took five minutes of mixing, a minute to shape and the rest was down time – letting the bread do its own thing. The result is a light, airy loaf.
I learned this technique for making artisan bread in The New Artisan Bread in Five Minutes a Day: The Discovery That Revolutionizes Home Baking. No kneading required, just mix the ingredients and avoid over handling it.
The first rise is much longer – this is when the flavour develops. When it’s time to bake the loaves, you have to be careful not to disturb the air pockets that have developed as it was rising. Simply shape the dough into the desired shape (long baguettes or oval loaves) and let it rest while the oven warms.
My kids haven’t had many opportunities to eat white bread – so they don’t expect it. And when I make bread from scratch, it’s an opportunity to enrich it. Flax seeds, pumpkin seeds, sesame seeds, quinoa, oatmeal and anything along those lines will make it into the dough.
Enriched loaves are great. The only sandwich my son will eat at school is hummus and cucumber so it’s nice to have some variety in the bread I use.
But sometimes I want to make loaves that are super light and full of air pockets. Not quite white bread but very close. These loaves turned out perfectly.
Light rye baguettes
Patience is required. I made the dough for this bread yesterday and let it sit undisturbed for almost 24 hours.
- 1 cup rye flour
- 4 cups all purpose flour
- 2 teaspoons salt
- 1/2 teaspoon traditional yeast
- 2 1/4 cups warm water
Mix the dry ingredients together and add the water. Once all the dry ingredients are mixed into the dough, cover the bowl loosely and leave it to rise at room temperature.
About 24 hours later, pulled the dough out onto a floured surface, divide it in half and gently shape them into two long loaves being careful not to puncture any air pockets that had formed.
Preheat a pizza stone in the oven at 450. Give it about an hour to ensure it is heated through. Once the oven and pizza stone are nice and hot, gently transfer the two loaves onto the stone, brush the top with water and bake them for a half an hour.
The loaves have a tough, crunchy crust and a soft interior. Because they were left on the counter for a day, they developed a mildly sour flavour to it. Bread like this doesn’t last long, which is a good thing because it doesn’t take long to get hard. It’s best if it’s eaten in a day.
If, by any chance, it lasts longer than a day or two, use the leftovers to make breadcrumbs.