Hi there! I know it's been a couple weeks since the last post. Sorry about that. Work has been getting busy and blah blah blah. Insert standard excuse here:___________. With that bit of business out of the way, let's get to the good stuff.
What you see above is something that didn't just intrigue me, but a good number of my coworkers as well.
Fleischmann"s Simply Homemade Bread Mix boasts that you can make bread in less than an hour. As a pastry chef, my initial thoughts were along the lines of "BULLSHIT!" or "No Fuckin' way!". After reading the instructions, I realized it wasn't out of the realm of possibility. But then again, what you are creating is sort of like bread. Let me back up a little....
In 2009, the book My Bread: The Revolutionary No-Work, No-Knead Method was published. Like this bread mix, no kneading was involved in producing the bread. The big difference with the recipes in the book to this box mix is time. The recipes in My Bread would need 12 to 18 hours to complete.
While that many hours to make a loaf of bread might seem like a lot, the flavor that much time would create would be....gargantuan. Gargantuan...I like that word. I so rarely get to use it. In fact, I'm not even sure it was appropriate to use it there. Well, fuck it. I love that scene from Kill Bill Vol. 2.
The point is, time is an essential part in bread making. The more time involved, the better chance for the yeast to build flavor. That's why I was pretty hesitant on trying this stuff. But the chef in me felt challenged. I had to see if this stuff was for real.
The instructions for this stuff couldn't be any easier. Bloom the yeast. Add flour. Mix until combined and let rest for 25 minutes. Score the top and bake for 20 to 25 minutes. Rest for a few minutes and enjoy. That's it. Really.
With such easy prep, I also saw an opportunity. If all you have to do is add water and stir, my son should be able to knock to this out. He's only 3, and I would certainly help him out, but this would be a good way to get him in the kitchen.
So, without further ado, here is Dominic, a.k.a Nicky Boy.
Like most breads, you start by adding warm water to the yeast and sugar.
After about 5 minutes, stir in the flour and mix until it just comes together.
For me, that last step is really awkward. To not knead or work the dough felt wrong. But, I was going to stick with the instructions this time.
Once mixed, you shape it into a loaf on an oven tray and cover for 25 minutes.
Don't worry, Nicky Boy was getting his hands dirty too.
They tell you in the instructions that the bread isn't going to double in size. It does rise a little bit though. They tell you that scoring the top of the dough is optional and can be done to pretty it up. What the fuck??? You score the top to vent steam! It has to do with the whole science part of baking. But it's gotta be done!
I forgot to mention this before, but Dominic was doing most of the work here. Except with the knife. I have to draw the line somewhere.
After about 23 minutes in the oven, the bread was done.
Here is Nicky Boy to present his first loaf of bread!
In my opinion, the lil guy did a damn good job! Love 'ya kiddo!
So how did it taste? Pretty good. It had a decent crust to it. The herbs come through nicely without being too heavy. The texture is another issue.
The best way I can describe the texture would be to call it a "Cake-Bread". Because there is no kneading, you aren't developing any gluten. Gluten is like the muscle of the bread. Like a muscle, it needs to be worked and built up. It also needs time to rest.
With no gluten being worked up at all, there isn't much keeping this bread together. It has a crumbly texture that seems almost out of place with a bread. It doesn't have a bad mouth-feel or anything, but don't expect something like a traditional loaf you can buy from the market.
Texture aside, it tasted good. There really are few things as good as bread right out the oven. A little butter, and you have a slice of heaven. Dominic seemed to think so.
I feel this box mix is for someone that really is scared shitless about baking their own bread. I know that sounds a little harsh, but I feel like too much is being sacrificed in the name of ease.
Yes, you don't have to get your hands dirty kneading dough. But, not kneading the dough gives you a crap texture.
Yes, you can get this done in one hour. But not giving the bread proper time for fermentation is denying yeast the chance to build flavor.
Some of you might say "I don't have a stand mixer. I'm not doing that shit by hand!" Relax, most home bread recipes will only require 5 to 10 minutes of kneading. THAT'S IT!!!
There you have it. That's my take on the One Hour Bread. I had a blast getting Dominic in the kitchen and he seemed to enjoy himself. I usually don't get all that personal on here, but I felt good sharing this. I love to bake, and I hope Nicky will be able to find enjoyment in creating things in the kitchen.
Until next time my friends.