It’s about time I put the bread in Bread & Putter. As it happens, I have been puttering about (heh) with the famous bread in 5 minutes that the fabulous Ms. Ivory Hut told us about back in January. And yes, even if you aren’t an ardent Hut dweller (If not, why not?? Put Ivory Hut on your must read list now, for heaven’s sake!), you could still be getting a case of deja vu just from reading here. My sister wrote about the bread too when she made it a week or so later.
My first go-around looked less than promising. Because I insist on being a fly-by-the-seat-of-my-pants kind of girl, even when it comes to things like baking and even yeast bread which is supposed to be so scary, I forged ahead with this recipe when I found that not only did I not have enough yeast, the yeast that I had was expired. Feh, I thought, expiration date, schmexpiration date – how do they know for sure how long those wee little yeastie beasties are gonna make it?
Well, I waited for the dough to rise. And waited. And then I started telling myself, yeaaaah…. suurrre…. it looks sorta… bigger. And then it was almost dinner time and even though the dough just looked like a gooey glop, I put a buttload of flour on my hands and shaped it as best I could like a ball, slapped it on my pizza piel and hoped for the best.
After a little rest, I put some nice slashes in it, put it on my pizza stone in my 450 degree oven and waited. And, against all odds, I got this:
Look at that! An actual crusty loaf. People, this bread is a rebel. This bread sticks its nose up at your so-called rules. It takes your expired, skimpy bits of yeast, gobbles it down and spits it back out looking like you knew what the hell you were doing. Not bad!!
Later that week, my husband requested pizza for dinner and I remembered that Ms. Hut mentioned this dough could also be used for pizza. It is possible that if I had perhaps actually used the correct amount of fresh yeast that this experience might have been slightly less painful. As it was, the sticky gooey-ness of this dough was such that my fingers were so encrusted with doughy crud that I refused to pick up my fancy new camera for a picture. Well, okay, I could have picked it up after I washed my hands, but maybe I was too traumatized by the near impossibility of moving the dough from my counter where I rolled it out to my pizza piel without it falling to pieces. It was passable for pizza, but when it comes right down to it, I believe pizza dough needs some fat in it, preferably lard. Otherwise, it just tastes like bread. And yes, bread is good, but pizza crust is another thing and a different thing.
Later that week, I had enough dough leftover to make one more loaf. I found that after storing in the fridge for several days, the flavor of the dough really developed. It had a slight sourdough tang to it that I enjoyed.
I made another batch of dough another week using the proper amount of new, fresh yeast. It definitely rose a lot more and this loaf was a little less heavy. We enjoyed this dough several times that week and it got better every time.
I have to agree that this is probably the easiest bread I’ve ever made. It’s probably not the best, but it’s not everyday that you have the time or inclination to put in as much effort as is required for a fancier recipe. (see Crusty French-Type Bread by Shirley Corriher) I will probably have to try some other varieties of this easy bread to know for sure, and that will sure be a hardship. I will be sure to share the results of my lack of effort with you here!