The other day I was watching television, and one commercial seemed to be shown at every break. It was the one for Fleischmann’s Simply Homemade No Knead Bread Mix. Personally, I think everyone should make bread. It’s not important whether you use a mixer, bread machine, food processor, or your hands. Just make bread. And since I’ve come to the long, slow ferment school of bread-making, which requires little kneading, I’ve given up the bread machine! But that’s just me.
I’ve had people say they don’t make bread because they don’t have time. For the most part, some people have a misconception about making bread. It doesn’t have to take a lot of hands-on time. Take my favorite Jim Lahey recipe. It probably takes me a total–from beginning to putting it in the oven–of 15 hands-on minutes. Sometimes maybe a little less, sometimes a little more. It ferments for 12-18 hours, but I’ve been letting it go 20-22. So if you’re in a hurry, well, that may not work for you.
Would people bake bread using Fleischmann’s mix? Purists would cringe at the thought of calling this baking bread, and to be honest, I’m not sure, either. But perhaps it would be a gateway into making their own breads. And I had to wonder if it was any good. A big complaint many have about the Artisan Bread in Five Minutes a Day basic recipe is lack of flavor. After all, it only has flour, yeast, salt, and water. I find this true if you use it after the initial fermentation period. But the breads made with the dough as it nears the end of its two-week have a more developed flavor. Still, I don’t find they have the same flavor as the ones in Lahey’s and Ken Forkish’s books, and their basic recipes use those same four ingredients.
Well, there was a sale, so I decided to experiment. I bought the stoneground wheat mix, shown above. I brought it home and took a look at the ingredients.
- flour (maybe a variety)
- yeast (sometimes a starter)
Sometimes I add seeds or extra grains, but that takes it beyond the basic.
To mix, just add water and mix with a spoon. Okay, that’s easy enough. You can let it rise for a while–a short while–in a loaf pan or as a boule. I opted for the latter. It bakes in a hot oven for about 30 minutes. That’s how long it took in my oven. Yours may be different.
So how was it? The loaf had a nice color. It wasn’t very crisp, but that was all right with me. The crumb was quite dense. It smelled good. But how did it taste? I’ve been giving that a lot of thought. There was a slight bitter taste. I’m not sure where it came from. It’s not the same flavor as my 100% whole wheat or my rye. So I’ve not been able to put my finger on it. But there was something else about the flavor that bothered me. Finally, after a great deal of thinking, I figured it out. It tasted old. Not that the bread itself was old; I knew it wasn’t. No, it tasted like the ingredients were old.
Yes, you can use this mix and get your bread in under an hour. But do you really want to? You’ll get much better results when you let the bread work longer. And it doesn’t even need adult supervision.© Copyright 2014 Ida Walker, All rights Reserved. Written For: The Enabling Cook