About a month or so ago, I read the Leftover Queen's bread rant. Her valid points about the amounts of very processed ingredients that can be found in store-bought bread inspired to get off my lazy behind and try out some bread baking. She recommended the ease and versatility of the bread recipes the book Artisan Bread in Five Minutes a Day by Jeff Hertzberg and Zoe Francois. I found the cookbook at the local library and decided to try out one of the recipes that the Leftover Queen also tested, light whole wheat.
I must admit, my hopes were low. I've never attempted to break yeast bread before and didn't think that my first efforts would amount to much. Thankfully, I was very much surprised. Not only is the claim of the book mostly true -- the bread really does only take about five to ten minutes of work per day to make, not counting rising and baking time -- but the directions were simple, clear, and easy for me to follow. Not only that, but the results were darn tasty. The Best Husband Ever and I ate the bread plain, as a side to stir-fry if I remember correctly, as well as with some apricot jam. My favorite way to eat this bread was in a sandwich filled with a spread of fat-free quark and Smart BBQ, a vegetarian alternative to barbecued shredded beef.
Artisan Bread in Five Minutes a Day offers a wide variety of bread recipes, from whole grain to white to sandwich to flat bread varieties. The recipe that most excites me, however, is for pumpernickel. Pumpernickel, a type of rye, is my favorite kind of bread. Curiously, I could not track it down in any grocery stores once I moved to Montana. After doing a little research, I discovered the reason -- pumpernickel is touted as a New York-style rye. That explains why I could eat it growing up in northern New Jersey and then fail to locate it out west. In fact, when I visited my old stomping grounds in July, I ate pumpernickel sandwiches at least once a day, and then brought the remainder of the loaf back to Montana to finish. I haven't tried the Artisan Bread pumpernickel recipe yet, but it's on my list of food endeavors I'd like to conquer. A worthy quest, don't you think? Pumpernickel in Montana. Mmm.