What do you do when your mother-in-law calls last minute to invite you over to dinner so your husband can spend the evening with his brother who has just arrived from Tennessee? If you're me, you happily accept the invitation, and figure out the details later.
When I hung up the phone, I surveyed the kitchen. The meatloaf was ready to pop in the oven. The potatoes were simmering on the stove. A loaf of bread was rising on the counter. I'm nothing, if not flexible. Most of the stuff could easily be warmed up the next day, so I went ahead and finished cooking the meatloaf, and whipped up the mashed potatoes. But what about that bread?
The dough was already a week old. I had just formed the third and last loaf of bread from the dough that had been sitting in the fridge in a covered bowl. Once I placed it on the silicone baking mat on a cookie sheet, I just let it rise for 40 minutes. The only thing is, when I got the phone call, it only needed to rise a little longer, and then it would be time to bake it. But there wouldn't be enough time to bake the bread before I needed to leave to meet Chuck and his family in the next town over. Ugh. What to do?
I remembered what David Leite had said on his blog, Leite's Culinaria, about the 5 Minute Artisan Bread recipe: "Relax. It's bread dough, not a newborn baby."
Trusting his words, I loosely covered the dough with plastic wrap, and shoved the cookie sheet in the refrigerator, where it sat while Chuck and I enjoyed a lovely meal with his family, and it stayed there overnight while we slept. We were glad we made the decision to join them, and postpone our own dinner at home.
The next morning, the boule (pronounced BOOL, which means ball) seemed a little on the flat side, and it had definitely spread out on the pan. I hardly dared hope the bread would be salvageable, but it was worth a try. I let it sit on the counter while the oven preheated to 450 degrees, and then I crossed my fingers, and popped it in to bake.
VOILA! It turned out beautifully. You guys, this ARTISAN BREAD is amazing. I can't say enough good about this bread recipe. It's simple, it's fuss-free, and it is delicious. In my humble opinion, this is a five-star recipe for busy people who love homemade bread.