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I'm afraid this is a ridiculous question but...

What is your routine for baking bread? I would very much like to make bread once a week. Recipes aren't the problem, it's the time. It's such a long process... remembering to do the sponge the night before, waiting through two rises the next day. How do you do it? Do you set aside a day that you know you and the kids (if you have 'em) will be home all day?

Any insight is appreciated, I can't figure out how to work this in!


eta: I totally put this in the wrong forum didn't I? Sigh.
 

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I would also love to hear any ideas on this and any idiot-proof receipes. I would love to be able to do it without a breadmaker.
 

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I just start whenever I get the chance. Bread is very forgiving time-wise. Lately I have been making sourdough, and I feed the starter to double it in the afternoon, let it double, feed to double that in the evening just before bed, let it double overnight, mix the dough in the morning, let it rise, deflate & shape the loaf in the afternoon and then it's ready to bake in the evening (when it's cooler and turning the oven on doesn't seem such a stupid thing to do!
) This seems to work pretty well, but occasionally it's not quite risen enough, but too much to let it sit all night at any particular stage, and I just toss it in the fridge and haul it out in the morning.

What's important is that at no time does the active time to actually DO stuff to the bread ever exceed 15 minutes - and that would be if you were hand-kneading. I use a KitchenAid. It's little bits of 5 minutes here, 5 minutes there - you don't have to set aside a whole day by any means.
 

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Oh and I would highly, highly recommend "The Bread Bible" by Rose Levy Berenbaum. Everything I've made from there (with the exception of the sourdough - I can't get the hang of the stiff starter she uses, I just use my own recipe) turned out beautifully - better than many of the artisan bakers here!
 
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