Thursday, October 27, 2011

Artisan Bread

I developed my interest in baking bread while living in a house that was so cold I baked bread to get warm.  Our house was so cold that bread would not rise on the counter so I had to turn the oven on low and then turn it off with the bread inside in order for the bread to rise.  

I got a book for Christmas called Artisan Bread in Five Minutes a Day.  It took a little while to work out a system that I liked, and I had to practice a while before the bread was really good, but now it warms both my home and my tummy.  

This is the easiest way I have ever seen to make bread.  There is no kneading, and it only takes a few minutes to get ready.  The only down side is that you really have to start this bread at least 10 hours before you want to eat it.  On the good side, you CAN make it two whole weeks before you want to eat it, so, if you like bread frequently you can make a week worth of dough and have fresh bread with relatively little planning.

This bread is soft but dense with a moist crumb, a hard crust, and a very wonderful taste.  

Happy baking and happy eating.

Recipe and method are adapted from Artisan Bread in Five Minutes a Day by Jeff Hertzberg and Zoe Francois.

Artisan Bread
Prep Time: 30 min     Makes: 4 small loaves

  • 3 cups hot tap Water
  • 4 1/2 teaspoons Salt
  • 4 1/2 teaspoons dry active Yeast
  • 6 1/2 cups Flour
  • Cornmeal, for pan

Add salt and yeast to water and stir to combine.

Place flour in the bowl of a food processor*, with food processor running add water and yeast mixture.  Mix until combined, about 30 seconds.

Place dough in a large bowl or container (5 quarts or larger) and leave to rise at room temperature for about 2 hours, or until dough had doubled in size.

Place dough in refrigerator over night and for up to 2 weeks.

Take out 1/4 of the dough and place on floured surface, or in a bowl of flour.  Lightly coat dough in flour.

Form loaf by pulling the dough down and tucking the "corners" underneath.

With a lightly floured knife cut a few slashes into the dough.

Place loaf on a cornmeal coated cookie sheet, and allow to rise for 40 minutes.  (preheat oven about 20 minutes into rising time)

Bake at 450 for 30 minutes.

* If you don't have a food processor this can be done in a stand mixer with the flat beater attachment or by hand but is quite labor intensive.  I would not recommend a hand mixer as the dough will be much to thick for most hand mixers.

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  1. My daughter has been making this for us, too! We love it! I'd really like to try it with some whole grains - but I'm a little scared of messing with success!

  2. I love this book too! It is so nice to have the dough in the fridge ready to bake up. :)

  3. I love this book too and just received my Healthy Bread in 5 Minutes a day.
    The only diff is I use the tablespoon measures as noted in the book. Whatever works for ya. The new book takes the "scary" out of using different grains and flours. Really cool.