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Artisan Bread


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We all know homemade bread is the best for your family.  When you make the bread, you can control what goes in it!  You include quality ingredients, and the ultimate in freshness.   But sometimes (OK, most of the time), I don’t have TIME for homemade bread. At the rate my family eats bread,  I just can’t keep up.

Well, introducing, ARTISAN BREAD!!  My love affair started last Saturday night, when Wade and I went on a date. Our date consisted of diet coke and bread from a local artisan bread bakery (Flour Girls and Dough Boys),  We bought a loaf of cranberry walnut artisan bread to share.  The only ingredients were: Whole Wheat Flour, salt, water, dried cranberries, and walnuts.  “Hmmmm,” I said to him, “I could totally make that! Right?”

So, I got home and found this youtube video created by the Writers of “Artisan Bread in 5 Minutes a day” (A book I just borrowed from my sister in law).  If the video doesn’t feed through Google Reader, click over cause there is a video right below this text).

So, here is the beauty of it.. No Kneading! No Kitchen Aid! No Bread MachineSuper easy,  You barely mix together the ingredients, and let it rise!  Then Bake.  Really, if making bread has scared you before, I am not kidding that this is the easiest bread you will EVER Make!!!

So, I made it exactly as the video describes first, with all white flour. And of course, my family was thrilled because it was delicious.  Photo is pre-cooked.

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But then I tried it a second time with 100% whole wheat flour, and it turned out just as well!!   I never went in between.  Never tried half whole wheat and half white. You can try that if you like, but I didn’t.   So, final product was literally, this easy..

  • 3 Cups Warm water
  • 1 1/2 TBL salt
  • 1 TBL yeast
  • 6 1/2 Cups whole wheat flour (or a blend of white and wheat for softer bread)

Mix in very large bowl, JUST UNTIL ALL FLOUR IS WET!  Cover loosely with saran wrap and walk away. Seriously, walk away for 2 hours.

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Shape into 4 grapefruit size balls, and leave on a cookie sheet (sprinkled with corn meal).  Let rise another 40 minutes.  (At this point I decided to shove some pecans and craisins into ONE of my loaves for fun)

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Here is the secret.  Preheat an oven to 450.  Put a pan on the bottom rack, and a Basking stone on the middle rack (if you have one. I got rid of mine because I literally could not stand to touch it).   Slide loaves onto middle cookie sheet then pour water into bottom pan.  Then close oven quickly.  The steam will get trapped in your oven.  Cook for 20-30 minutes, or until brown on top.

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I can not emphasize enough how easy this is.  I don’t know if I will ever knead bread again.   And it made great sandwich bread, great toast bread, and great just plain.. MMMMm

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In the mood for bread?  Here are some other bread posts from the archives: More Bread, Carb Control, Move over Rhodes

Warning! A glass for the bottom dish with water may explode!


60 Comments

Candice

I, too, have always been reticent about making my own bread because I have difficulty getting doughs to rise. I will definitely try this, though. My husband and I were talking about making our own bread very recently, so this article came at just the right time!

Jamie

I have the Healthy Bread in 5 book. I actually have a loaf of wheat bread rising on the counter right now! The master recipe they have for wheat bread uses some vital wheat gluten and increases the water a bit. They actually have a website/blog where they give out more recipes and ideas, and have more videos. It’s a great resource. The authors are also really good about answering any questions you post. The website is: artisanbreadinfive.com
I’m glad you’re having fun with making your artisan bread. …it gets kind of addicting (to make and eat!)

Susan

I’m definitely going to try the bread recipe. Did you use Safe Yeast, or just the regular old fashioned kind?

A co-worker gave me that book last Christmas and I actually have a loaf in the oven right now. =) The author suggests you use a stone (like a pizza stone) to cook on so that the bottom of the loaf gets nice and crusty too. I made French Toast with this bread after it was a day or two old and it was phenomenal! Another tip: the amount of salt is for a coarse salt like kosher salt, which most people don’t have in their kitchen. If you use your regular table salt which has relatively small grains and is more compact, you want to use about 1/3 less salt. If you don’t, it can come out too salty. In the recipe above, I only use 1 T salt, not 1 1/2 T.

I think I can do this. I have made bread in a bread machine but I never thought it tasted that great. I have always thought making bread was too much work. This is doable.

I am so excited that I found your blog and this recipe–sounds easy enough for even me!! Gonna check out that book, too.

Just getting started trying to revamp our diet–and making it much healthier–I’m sure your blog will help!

I found this recipe on the Mother Earth News website several months ago. They were doing a feature on the book.

I tried it and have never looked back. It is so delicious and simple and inexpensive. My sidekicks can polish off at least a large loaf a day.

One thing I do is keep the loaf going by keeping one cup of dough and adding it to the next batch; I also use the same container to store it in the refrigerator. Within just a month, the bread started developing a lovely, sourdough flavor.

Erica

I just came across this and made 4 small loaves last week which were amazing! My boyfriend and I want bigger slices for sandwiches so I am trying two larger loaves instead of 4 and will cook them a bit longer. Has anyone tried this? Any suggestions for cooking time? Also I add flaxseeds and rosemary for some added goodness!

Isn’t it good? I just made some last night.
I have tried two bigger loaves, and was having a hard time getting it to cook all the way through before the top was over done in my opinion. Three loaves might work though…

Kim

I just put my loaves in the oven, and I have a few questions. This is my first time making this kind of bread. I’m well practiced at making bread the old fashioned way, but this is a new method for me. Do I have to preheat the pan that the bread is going to bake on, or can I let the loaves rise on the pan I am going to bake them on? I understand why I need to preheat the pan for the water, just not the pan to bake the loaves on. In moving the loaves off the pan they rose on and onto the pan to bake them, I completely ruined the shape of the loaves. I had to add a little water to my dough, and I think I ended making the dough too soft (at first it was way too dry, I couldn’t get all the flour moistened). Is this supposed to be a dryer dough, or a stickier dough?

Hi Kim,
1) my dough is always extremely sticky,
2) I did not heat the baking pan.
3) it is tricky to move the loaves without disrupting it. I put a lot of corn meal on the rising stone, or I just let it rise right on the baking pan.
4) It seems to be super forgiving, so I would not be surprised if despite everything, the loaves still turned out amazing…. let me know!

Wow, I need to try making this bread!
I have a few questions for you: do you think it would work if I made half the recipe?
Also, did you use regular whole wheat flour or whole wheat pastry flour??
I have also seen whole wheat bread flour, have you used that?
And, one last question, I also got rid of my baking stone a while ago because it was nasty, so… should I simply use two trays, one with the bread and one on the bottom with the water?
Thank you so much for sharing all the good and healthy recipes ideas, I love this blog! I wish everyone would eat healthy and happily!!
Ana

Yes, I have halved the recipe and it worked great. I’ve never even been able to find whole wheat pastry flour in the store, so I just use regular whole wheat flour. It’s not bread flour either, but it is ground pretty finely. I have a wheat mill by my house, and I think their flour is the BEST!! I’ve used a second tray for water, and it completely dried up all the water and burned my pan horribly. Since then, I’ve used a round cake pan that is pretty deep and sturdy, it’s worked better. I usually do use a cookie sheet for the bread on top.

Herb Arce

Arrowhead Mills brand makes an organic whole grain pastry flour; I used to make a quiche crust and it was pretty good. Unfortunately, I have not been able to find anything larger than a 2# bag. Maybe this will help.

Ailene

Are you at a high altitude? I tried making this, and the dough was a little dry, not sticky like you said yours was. I’m just wondering if I need to adjust for altitude difference. I’m about 1000 feet above sea level.

Jen

I tried this bread last week….am I the only silly one who used a glass baking dish for the water? I had a large glass EXPLOSION in my oven and nearly gave the dog a heart attack – thank goodness the tutorial said to close the oven door very quickly so the explosion was somewhat contained ;) I tried again later that night with a metal pan…bread = delicious!

Kristy Kelley

Hi! This bread looks so yummy and I’m going to try it! However, I don’t have a baking stone. Is it a requirement to use one? What should I use in place of it? Thanks!

Lucy

I have made this a few times but my dough never looks sticky like your does in the picture after I mix it with the water, should I add more water?

Shannon

Yes…I used a glass pan and just had an explosion in my stove. I’m not sure if I blame myself for not using common sense or if I blame you guys for not including that tidbit of info. Thank goodness my little children were not in the kitchen with me at the time!

Nancy

Just found this and can’t wait to try it!

One question… Video shows 1 & 1/2 Tablespoons of yeast… Your recipe says ONE Tablespoon of yeast?

Thanks!

Nancy

Oops.. another question

I live in a very small town.. the only yeast I can find is Red Star Active Dry / Red Star Quick rise

Will either of these work?

Amy

I’m almost 100% sure you can use any yeast, as long as it’s live.
Also, I use less yeast, and it turns out fine, but I am also at high altitude, and maybe their suggestion for 1 ½ might be better for people at other climates and altitudes- When it doubt, I would follow the folks in the video! They’ve made it much more often than I have!
Thanks for reading!

emily burt

is its 1T or 1 and 1/2T yeast? the written recipe indicates 1T yeast, but in the video the woman says 1 1//2 T yeast…
Thanks,

Hi Emily- It’s been so long since I watched that video, I”m not sure i remember what happened. But what I think I did, is I think my bread tasted a bit “yeasty”, so I decided to decrease the yeast. It certainly rises appropriately for me, so I guess you could use either measurement!

Katie Johnson

I made this to go with dinner tonight & it was the easiest bread I’ve ever made & the best. Its a nice heavy bread. I only made half a recipe. It turned out perfect. I will make this again without a doubt. Thanks!!

Kate Johnson

Thanks for the recipe I have made it 4x now & everyone loves it. It is so easy to make & it has turned out perfect every time! I love it! I used a metal 9×13 pan to hold the water in the oven since some people had issues using a glass pan.

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Amber

I don’t understand the last part of the bread recipe. Could you please explain the baking part, when you put in the middle cookie sheet, what?, to me? Thanks.

Vicki

Don’t blame her. She didn’t feel the need to state that you need to put oven mitts on to take them out of the oven either… If I reach in and grab the pan with my hands, I’m sure not blaming her for burning myself.

No, it’s just for sprinkling on the pan so the bread doesn’t stick and has that nice crunchy bottom. I don’t use it a lot and the bread is fine.

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