Friday, January 7, 2011

Artisan Bread

There isn't anything more in this world that says comfort food & love to me than loaves of homemade crusty bread fresh from the oven - well maybe my Grams homemade chicken soup speaks to me in the same way but that is an entirely different story in itself.

From the humble beginnings of flour, water and yeast comes a crusty, chewy, fragrant little piece of heaven. I came across a great book - Artisan Bread in five minutes a day. The title is a little deceiving, I can be quite literal at times and I thought great! fresh bread in five minutes plus baking...resting and rising times I did not account for. The wait is certainly worth the while, once you have mastered the "Master Recipe" you can add your own signature flavors - my personal favorite, "Oven Roasted Garlic", yum!

Oven Roasted Garlic Artisan Bread
Adapted from Artisan Bread in Five Minutes a Day

Makes 2 - 1lb Loaves

2 Cups Warm Water
2 1/2 Tsp Active Yeast
2 1/2 Tsp Kosher Salt
3 1/2 Cups AP Flour
1 Small Head Roasted Garlic

  1. Combine water, yeast, salt & garlic in a large bowl. Not to worry if all the yeast does not fully dissolve as you will be mixing in the flour immediately
  2. Stir Flour in until evenly moist- this will be a very wet dough. No need to knead just stir until moist . Cover leaving the lid open a smudge to allow gases to escape
  3. Set on counter to rise - 2 hours or at this point you can place the covered bowl in the fridge for an overnight rise
  4. After the initial rise,  the dough should have taken up most of the space in your container and have a flat top. Sprinkle some flour on top of the dough (dough will be very sticky) to make it easier to handle.
  5. Portion the dough into 2 equal pieces. With a touch more flour shape the dough into a round loave. The other portion of dough may remain in the fridge until ready to use or you can bake both!
  6. Place the shaped loaf onto a floured pizza peel or wooden cutting board. Second rise should take about 40 minutes. No worries if the dough does not double in size it will during the baking
  7. 20 minutes into the second rise Preheat the oven to 450 degrees. Place a baking stone on the first rack and a broiler pan/sheet pan on the second rack directly under the baking stone ( you are heating the stone prior to baking). Dust the stone with cornmeal to prevent sticking.
  8. After the second rise is completed, transfer the loaf to the preheated baking stone. Pour 1 cup of hot water into the broiler pan/sheet pan and quickly close the oven door- you are creating steam that will result in a very crusty loaf of bread.
  9. Bake for 30 minutes, the outer crust will be dark in color but moist and chewy on the inside. To check that your bread is done, tap the bottom of the loaf it should sound hollow
  10. Allow the bread to rest prior to cutting, I know, I know you will want to dive right into it but the wait is worth it. When you slice into right out of the oven bread it compromises the texture and condenses the slice.
Don't let all the steps of this recipe scare you, a lot of the time is inactive. Enjoy your little slice of crusty, chewy oh so good heaven!

Print this Recipe!


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