Monday, February 14, 2011

Artisan Bread recipe

Ok ladies... here goes. I bought this book at the recommendation of who knows who and after being intimidated for so long about these recipes, I finally overcame my fear and went for it. More on that here. I highly recommend this book if you want to make all types of fresh bread. This is the "master" recipe upon which you can alter it in many different ways. The book shows you how to make white bread, wheat bread, pumpernickel and pastries. The master recipe is the best place to start...

Master recipe
Note... this recipe MUST be prepared in advance.

-3 cups lukewarm water
-1 1/2 tbsp yeast (about 1 1/2 packets)
-1 1/2 tbsp kosher salt
-6 1/2 cups unbleached flour plus a little extra for dusting
-cornmeal for the peel (so it doesn't stick)

In a large plastic resealable container, mix yeast and salt into 3 cups lukewarm (about 100 degrees) water. Using a large wooden spoon, stir in flour, mixing until mixture is uniformly moist with no dry patches. No need to knead, ;) Cover, but not with an airtight lid. (I mix mine in a bowl and then put in a rubbermaid bin). Most likely, I will figure out another technique next time. It took up too much room in the fridge. See?

Let dough rise at room temperature, until dough begins to flatten on top or collapse, at least 2 hours and up to 5 hours. (I did 2 hours) Now, dough can be refrigerated up to 2 weeks; refrigerated dough is easier to work with than room-temperature dough, so the authors recommend that first-time bakers refrigerate dough overnight or at least 3 hours, which is what I did... and the reason I said it should be prepared in advance.

When ready to bake, sprinkle cornmeal on a pizza peel. I don't have a pizza peel. So, as the authors recommend, I used the bottom of a cookie sheet. Just turn the cookie sheet upside down and use that. Place a broiler pan on bottom rack of oven. Place baking stone on middle rack and preheat oven to 450 degrees, preheating baking stone for at least 20 minutes.

Sprinkle a little flour on dough and on your hands. Pull dough up and, using a serrated knife, cut off a grapefruit-size piece. Working for no more than 30 to 60 seconds turn dough in hands (dust flour on hands as needed), gently stretching surface of dough, rotating ball a quarter-turn as you go, creating a rounded top and a bunched bottom.

Place shaped dough on prepared cookie sheet (or pizza peel) and let rest, uncovered, for 40 minutes.

Dust dough. Using a serrated knife, slash top of dough in three parallel, ¼-inch deep cuts or any pattern you've seen in a bakery, ;). Slide dough onto preheated baking stone. Pour 1 cup hot tap water into broiler pan and quickly close oven door to trap steam. Bake 30 minutes. Remove from oven to a wire rack and cool completely. (I choose to eat mine warm and not let it cool completely. Go ahead. Try it. Yumm!)

Now, I know that sounds like a lot but really, it's not. Maybe you can see why I was intimidated for so long. Please don't be like me. Try it. Now that I have the technique down, I'll make it more and more. This recipe makes 4 one pound loaves. I've made 3 already. I made a loaf for Scott's family on Saturday night and it was gone shortly after it came out of the oven. They wanted more.

So, here is the finished loaf again... I am not exaggerating, this bread is SO good. I regret not making it a lot sooner.

Edited note: I forgot to mention that I use my Pampered Chef baking stone for this. I'm sure you could bake it on something else but more than likely the top would not crust up as much!


  1. Baking bread is the best! I have been making bread for years, often sharing with friends and family. I don't have a recipe; I do everything by eye. I think I am going to try this. I don't have a stone? Will this recipe work without one?

  2. The DIY Spot... I KNEW there was something else I should have mentioned. I used my Pampered Chef baking stone. I'm sure you could use something else but it might not crust up as well. I would think it would be delicious nonetheless!

  3. Looks delicious! I love to bake homemade bread, thanks for sharing the recipe! :)

  4. Mmmm, looks delicious. I have the book in my Amazon wishlist but haven't bought it yet. :)