BYOB Club Member in Good Standing

For years, I’d endured a love-hate relationship with baking bread. It’s a domestic skill I could never master, and that bothered me.

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When I tried, four out of five loaves flopped. Then, in an act of mercy from the yeast gods, I’d turn out a specimen fit for judging at the Iowa State Fair. Eventually, the outrageous price of store-bought bread led me to a method and book with the same title: The NEW Artisan Bread in Five Minutes a Day (now updated to include gluten-free recipes).

Sure. Like anyone in her right mind would believe that. Five minutes a day? If this book were touting some prepackaged mix or pricey piece of equipment, I wouldn’t be interested.

But in no time at all, the verdict was in. It’s true. Authors Jeff Hertzberg and Zoe Francois have taken the home baking world by storm, having created a method that takes away all of the variables of baking yeast breads: the time, the hassle, the waiting and the worrying. 

I stand before you a changed woman, and a consistent home baker of artisan bread. It’s the rustic, beautiful kind of bread you see in a European bakery. It’s the kind of bread that is made once a day, consumed by the family and then replaced the following day. Every day.

I am as busy as I ever was, and even I have five minutes a day to bake bread. While I had to put my daily baking efforts on the shelf, so to speak, during the many long months of our big transition and move, I’m back! And quite possibly the most enthusiastic member of the BYOB (bake your own bread) movement. I’m toying with the idea of making 2016 the year that we don’t buy bread at all—and still have bread every day of the year. Think I can do it?

Here’s my routine:

On Saturday, I take about 10 minutes to make up the master recipe. The ingredients are simple: water, flour, yeast and salt. That’s it. I measure the ingredients and mix to combine them. Then, I dump the dough into my “dough-rising box” (a 40-cup plastic container with a lid), leave it on the counter for two hours and then move it to the refrigerator. It makes enough dough for eight one-pound loaves. The dough is good for up to two weeks in the fridge.

When I want to bake a loaf, I open the box, grab a wad of dough, dust it with a little flour, shape it and set it on a wooden pizza peel. There it sits for 20 minutes as the oven preheats and I do other things. I pop it into the oven on a baking stone and 30 minutes later, we have fresh, European bakery-style bread. Did I say no kneading? None!

Since becoming a BYOBer, I’ve used the master dough to make breadsticks, soft pretzels, pizza and dinner rolls.

Here’s the best part: A decent loaf of bread at my store is now closing in on $4 per loaf. A loaf of my homemade artisan bread costs forty cents—one-tenth the cost and ten times better!

There’s something more that comes with baking bread. It’s soul-soothing. I love knowing that I have yeast in the freezer and flour in the pantry. It makes me feel self-reliant. I like that.

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4 replies
  1. Gehugh
    Gehugh says:

    I think their book revolutionized home quality baking. YOU need to bake regularly no matter how busy you think your schedule is; its truely meditative and when you see what goodness you produce and put into your temple, you are there.

    Reply
    • Amanda
      Amanda says:

      I get mine from Costco, it’s a huge brick that lasts forever and it’s only about $3.50. I pour some into a seal able container that stays in the fridge and put the rest in the freezer.

      Reply
  2. Kathy
    Kathy says:

    I used to own a bake n gift shop, and grew up with my twin sister and I, delivering my mom’s homemade bread every Monday when we got home from school, as she would make 25 loaves every week and all our country neighbors bought her bread. So being a homemade bread lover and Baker, I tried this recipe when you first put this out, tried it and it is easy, delicious, no knead and makes variable items, and when I host a dinner with people from my church, they get a container of yeast with recipe attached, and they also learn that easy and simple and quick, turns out just as good bread as laborious and time consuming bread , and saving money is a plus as well. I am so grateful I read and followed through on your tip for this bread! Thank you ! From myself and my friends and family.

    Reply

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