I had tried my hand at baking bread at home on occasion, both by hand and with a bread machine. I was never excited about the results. The loaves were usually dense, and lacked the chewy crumb and crisp, caramelized crust that just *makes* a good loaf of bread. Not only were the results mediocre, the process was somewhat labor intensive and uninspiring to me. I've never been much of a cook. I resigned myself to getting my kicks from the bakery section at Central Market.
I saw a thread on www.thebabywearer.com that was dedicated to a technique of baking from the book, "Artisan Bread in Five Minutes a Day." The thread provided a link to the master recipe and instructions from motherearthnews.com. The thread on thebabywearer had many replies raving about the success they had thanks to this technique. My interest was piqued.
The master recipe contains only four ingredients, flour, water, yeast and salt. I had all the ingredients and supplies in my house, so I decided to give it a whirl. My first attempt at the boule wasn't perfect, but it was delicious. And it was chewy, and crusty, and amazing. I could not BELIEVE I made it myself, in my own kitchen, and it was so simple to do. I was hooked.
My first attempt at an artisan boule.
A subsequent attempt.
Since then, I've baked a loaf, sometimes two, every day. I've branched out in to different variations and techniques. It's an adventure, and normally my first attempt at a new variation isn't as pretty as it's supposed to be. But they have all, with the exception of one fail, been delicious!
If you'd like to give it a try yourself, the master recipe can be found here. If you make it, let me know how yours turns out!