Feeling Curious About Baking Bread

Artisan Bread

When Candice, Amanda and I were discussing what kinds of things would be fun for a week devoted to learning new things, Candice said that she wanted to learn about making bread; not just any bread, but a crusty, rustic loaf. When I was growing up, my mom used to make us fresh brown bread every week. When I got married, I thought I would continue the legacy of my mother, but I could never really master her recipe. I thought all was lost until I started using a friends recipe. All this is to say that I knew exactly where Candice was coming from in wanting to perfect a particular style of bread!

Artisan Bread

A few years ago I attended a bread baking class taught by Peter Reinhart, where I learned some amazing tips. I went back to my notes from that class, and went through a ton of recipes, and then Candice and I spent the morning baking bread! When it comes to the rustic artisan loaf, there are a lot of different methodologies. You can use dough starters or  you can try the no knead method. Reinhart’s recipe takes three days from start to finish, which didn’t seem like the best intro recipe for our purposes here!

Artisan Bread | Handmade Mood

If you’re intimidated by bread, you want something that has a high success rate. If you start this bread in the evening, you’ll have a nice warm bread for lunch or dinner the next day. It’s a long time from start to finish, but it’s not really a lot of hands on time.

Rustic Artisan Bread | Handmade Mood

Here are some hints that can help you with any kind of yeast bread.

  • If the recipe calls for warm water, I use tap water that is just as hot as I can stand. If I can still run my hand under it, it works!
  • When you’re letting the dough rise, cover it with a warm, damp cloth.
  • If you want to knead the dough by hand, keep a small dish of water close by to dip your fingers in. This will keep you fingers from getting covered in sticky dough.
  • If you want a crusty loaf, use a spray bottle to spray water in the oven right before you put your dough in. This creates steam that makes the magic happen (this might be the best tip from Reinhart).
  • If you’re one of those “healthy” people you can switch out some whole wheat for white flour, but it will make the bread heavier.
  • I fully support you if you want to knead bread by hand, but I love my Bosch for this kind of thing!
  • Whatever you do, don’t stress out! It’s just flour and yeast and water. You can always start again if you make a mistake!

Artisan Bread | Handmade Mood

Simple (but not quick) Artisan Bread

Ingredients:

  • 2 1/2 c. warm water
  • 2 tsp. yeast
  • 7 c. flour
  • 1 Tbsp. salt (it seems like a lot, but it’s not)

Instructions:

  1. Add water and yeast to the bowl of your mixer, fitted with a dough hook, and turn on for a couple of seconds.
  2. Add the remaining ingredients and mix for 7 minutes. The dough should come off the sides of the bowl and form a ball.
  3. Cover the bowl with a warm damp cloth, and let sit overnight until double in size.
  4. Divide the dough in half and shape into rounds.
  5. If you have a stoneware cookie sheet, that’s the perfect thing, if not line a cookie sheet with parchment.
  6. Cover again with a warm, damp cloth for two hours.
  7. Add two slits in each loaf (or more if you want to be fancy!)
  8. Bake in a 425º oven for 30 mins.

 

 

 

Feeling Curious About Baking Bread
Recipe type: Bread
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 10
 
Simple (but not quick) Artisan Bread
Ingredients
  • 2½ c. warm water
  • 2 tsp. yeast
  • 7 c. flour
  • 1 Tbsp. salt (it seems like a lot, but it's not)
Instructions
  1. Add water and yeast to the bowl of your mixer, fitted with a dough hook, and turn on for a couple of seconds.
  2. Add the remaining ingredients and mix for 7 minutes. The dough should come off the sides of the bowl and form a ball.
  3. Cover the bowl with a warm damp cloth, and let sit overnight until double in size.
  4. Divide the dough in half and shape into rounds.
  5. If you have a stoneware cookie sheet, that's the perfect thing, if not line a cookie sheet with parchment.
  6. Cover again with a warm, damp cloth for two hours.
  7. Add two slits in each loaf (or more if you want to be fancy!)
  8. Bake in a 425º oven for 30 mins.

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