Artisan Bread in 5 Minutes-with Dad
A few weeks ago I bought two copies of Jeff and Zoe's new book "Artisan Bread in 5 Minutes a Day" and had one shipped to my 83 year old father. Since my Mother passed on, he has been trying to be creative in the kitchen and has ventured into some rather tasty foods. I thought it might be fun for him to learn to bake small loaves of bread for himself and to take with him when he visits friends.
After looking at the book for a few days he decided he would like to take a stab at the Peasant Bread formula. He's a health food fan and has been drinking a Tablespoon of Vinegar in a glass of water every day for as long as I can remember. My sister happened to show up on his doorstep that day so she helped gather all the items called for and some parchment paper I suggested would make things easier and negate the need for a stone.
I don't have any pictures since Dad isn't a digital guy but the reports are that the bread turned out great and my sister took the recipe and method home to try herself. I suggested that they skip the stone and simply bake on a cookie sheet with parchment paper. It's much easier to manage that way and there isn't any need to learn how to manage a peel and slide dough off onto the stone. They baked half the master formula for peasant bread in two small loaves. He told me the crust was hard at first but softened later in the day more to his liking.
The end result was a success I think. Time will tell if he will mix another batch on his own but the concept is easy enough to encourage him to try other formulas and keep it up. This project has had other benefits that relate to bonding with my father who lives a state away and gives us another reason to call each other. Despite his age he is active and agile. I think the pride of creating a good looking loaf of bread that tastes wonderful is fun for him.
I must admit I am not a devotee of the 5 minutes a day method. Yes it works but I can make better bread using the more traditional methods I have learned here. The Jeff and Zoe method is important because more people will become bakers because of their book. However you bake, you are helping to continue a 6000 year tradition and that's a good thing. So, look around your family and find someone who would appreciate fresh bread. From college students to retired parents, helping them learn to make a fresh loaf will be appreciated on many levels.