Artisan Bread In One Shower A Week

I used to make bread back when I had one angel child and ate a lot more carbs.

Now I have three angels, one of whom is itchy a lot and wakes up at night for no apparent reason.  I spring out of bed and flit over to hers in the dark with one blurry eye propped open, always avoiding tripping over the bear head on the floor in front of the playpen, cause sometimes looks trump practicality and it LOOKS cool to have a bear rug under the baby’s bed.

I have to get there before she actually makes a noise, cause I need the extra time to grope around for one of the 3 soothers hiding all around her and poke it into her mouth before she knows she woke up.  Otherwise I’ll have to feed her again.  Which isn’t so bad cause I just take her back to bed with me and drift in and out of consciousness until she starts snoring, at which time I pop the soother into her mouth that I remembered to bring with me from her bed, if I was able to find it at all, and carry her back to bed.  She goes back to sleep, and I tiptoe back to bed, always avoiding tripping over the bear head, and fall back asleep whilst retrieving my half of the blankets from the other side of the bed.

Repeat 3 more times.

Now thanks to daylight savings time, I can see the bear head for the last two treks across the floor.

What was I talking about?

Oh yeah, BREAD.

I love bread.  I used to make 4 loaves a week of lovely whole wheat bread with my very own recipe that I made up (it’s on this blog somewhere) and my Kitchen Aid.  Then my Aid up and quit and I was pregnant and didn’t want to couldn’t knead the dough.  That was two summers ago.

I found other things to eat for breakfast and let the kids eat store-bought bread once in a while, while I recovered from being pregnant and prepared to move a full day’s drive away.  I took last summer off making bread too.

Then I ran out of alternative breakfast ideas because I stopped eating dairy and eggs for baby’s sake (and mine).  Totally awesome to stop eating those when you own a cow and chickens.

So Darryl has been buying the kids the store bakery’s whole wheat bread and buying me the nice artisan sourdough, which isn’t REAL sourdough and MAY contain milk.  Ugh.  So because I’m just feeling lazy even though I get all the sleep I want, I’m trying the Artisan Bread In 5 Minutes A Day recipe, cause I can carve out that much time every day if I skip one shower a week.  I figured it all out.

Basically, you stir some salt and yeast into warm water in a big bowl, then dump in some flour, give it a stir, and let it sit, covered, for a couple hours before storing it in the fridge.  Then whenever you want bread, you pull off a chunk and let it sit on the counter while the oven warms up, then you dust it with flour and slice perfect patterns in the top with a knife and pop it in the oven for 30 minutes.

Cute.  I did it the way they suggested the first time cause that’s how I roll.  I pulled off the recommended grapefruit sized chunk, and I totally remember how big a grapefruit is cause I’ve totally bought one since I got married.  I guess I underestimated how much flour to put on my hands before handling the wet dough and fumbled with the sticky glob for a while, trying to pry it off my fingers in one piece.  That was amusing.  I should have let one of my angel kids do that and taken a picture to prove they do school sometimes.  But, like I said, I’m feeling lazy this year.

The recipe says the lump may not rise much depending on the age of the dough or something, and they were right.  It stayed grapefruit sized, more or less, until I slashed the top in a perfect pattern and slid smushed it off the cutting board and onto the baking stone in the  450 degree oven.

It came out perfect!

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The only downside was…it was only slightly larger than a grapefruit.  But it tasted AMAZING.

It didn’t make it through the day.  And I didn’t want to do that EVERY day either cause I like showers, so the next day, I doubled it.  I pulled off a lump the size of TWO grapefruit and baked that, after remembering to use WAY more cornmeal on the cutting board (it actually slid nicely onto the baking stone!), only I didn’t leave it in the oven long enough and the middle was raw.   I tried again, cooking it until it sounded hollow when thumped on the bottom, but by then, the entire crust was so chewy that everyone else in my family complained.  No one appreciates crusty bread in this house.

Soooo back to the drawing board Pinterest I went and found instructions for cooking this exact bread recipe in the crock pot.  That sounded more like it.  I used the double-grapefruit batch and the parchment paper and it cooked for about 3 hours before I risked taking it out.  The bottom was crusted, but not too bad, and the top was a light dough colour, so I browned it under the broiler.  Not quite long enough, but at least the top was soft.  Yum!  It lasted 2 days.  Perfect.  I can do that every 2 days.  Especially with NO cleanup!

So that is how I make bread now.  Except next time I’m going to put the parchment on one of those expanding steamer thingies so it’s not touching the pot, and maybe it won’t get so crusty on the bottom.  And I’ll remember to slash the top when I first put it in so it looks like artisan bread instead of a mound of pale dough.

Now watch, I’ll have to quit eating wheat for Pete’s baby’s sake and I’ll have to eat hash browns for breakfast every morning.

Can I make those in the crock pot?

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