Friday, March 26, 2010

Artisan Bread

Artisan Breads are my favorite types of bread.  There is nothing better than the hard, crisp crust, with the moist, melt in your mouth inside.  Yum!  Recently, my friend brought over a loaf of this succulent stuff.  My family quickly devoured it.  I immediately called her asking for the recipe.  She said she got it from the book "Artisan Bread in Five Minutes a Day".  I quickly went and got the book.  Needless to say, this is my new favorite book!!  The bread is AMAZING, super easy, and really does only take minutes a day to make.  Seriously!  The bread tastes as good as the artisan loaves from the bakery, and costs about .40 cents per loaf (even less if you use fresh ground whole wheat flour).   The premise behind the bread is that you mix up a batch of dough (each batch makes four 1-pound loaves), let it sit on the counter for 2 hours, and then refrigerate overnight.  Then you can just cut off the amount of dough you want to bake, and put the rest of the dough back in the fridge for up to 2 weeks. As the dough sits in the fridge, it gets this amazing taste..... WOW!  I highly recommend getting this book!!!  It is well worth the $19 on!!!  Here is the basic recipe.  Try it out!  You can do so much with this dough! I have been making double batches of dough, keeping in the fridge, and making fresh, delicious Artisan bread almost daily.  YUM!!

The Master Recipe: Boule (Artisan Free-Form Loaf)
Makes four 1-pound loaves.  The recipe is easily doubled or halved.
3 cups lukewarm water
1 1/2 TBS granulated yeast
1 1/2 TBS kosher or other coarse salt
6 1/2 cups unsifted, unbleached, all purpose white flour
Cornmeal for pizza peel

  1. Put warm water in a large bowl.  Add yeast and salt.  
  2. Add flour all at once.  Mix with wooden spoon.  You can also mix this in your KitchenAid with the dough hook.  
  3. Do not knead. Just make sure all of the flour is incorporated and that there are no dry spots.
  4. Cover with a lid (not airtight) and let rise for 2 hours on your counter.
  5. Put in refrigerator for at least 3 hours, or overnight.
To Bake:
  1. Cut off the amount of dough you wish to use.  Use a generously floured pizza peel (I use a flexible cutting board), to put the formed ball on.  Do not incorporate the flour into the dough.  Just use it so the dough won't stick to your hands.  
  2. Put the blob of round dough on the floured or cornmeal covered peel.  Let rest for 40 minutes.
  3. 20 minutes before baking, preheat the oven to 450 degrees, with a baking stone placed on the middle rack.  Place an empty pan for holding water on any other shelf that won't interfere with the rising bread.
  4. Dust the top of the dough with flour, and slash the top with a tic-tac-toe shape, or with an "x".
  5. Slide the blob onto the heated stone.  Immediately pour a cup of water on the second pan and quickly shut the oven door.
  6. Bake for about 30 minutes until the crust is nicely browned and firm to the touch.
  7. Cool completely on wire rack.
  8. Don't store in plastic.  This will cause moisture to soften the crust.  
Happy Baking!
 Ingredients in a big bowl, ready for mixing.  Use a wooden spoon.

Dough is mixed, and covered.  Let sit on counter for 2  hours, then put in fridge.

Dough formed into a ball, resting on cornmeal or flour (or both) pizza peel or cutting board.  You may want to put a piece of parchment under the dough so it slides easy.  Cornmeal works wonderful.  Let rest for about 40 minutes.

20 minutes before baking time, preheat oven to 450 degrees.  Put pizza stone in oven to preheat, as well as a pan.  When oven is preheated, slide blobs of dough onto the stone.  Immediately put water in the pan, and quickly close the door.  Bake.

The finished product.  Yummy!!!!

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    1. This sounds so good, I can not wait to make this bread, do you know if it is good for pizza as well? Also can you use whole white wheat for this recipe? I cant wait to make some! Thanks .
      P.S I love your blog!

    2. I haven't tried it for pizza... I bet it would be fabulous though. Yes, you can substitute whole wheat flour (only HARD white wheat, NOT soft white wheat- the soft is used to make pastry flour and is not good for bread). The wheat flour will make a denser crumb (inside), and the crust will not get as crisp. You may want to check out the book, "Healthy Bread in Five Minutes a Day", as it is full of whole wheat artisan recipes, and tips to make that perfect loaf.

    3. Katie-I stumbled across this blog today whenn doing a google search for "Financial Peace University Cake." My husband and I facilitate FPU at our church and tomorrow, we will celebrate the graduation of our 4th FPU class! When I found this blog and started looking around, I noticed you also enjoy baking and gardening, which are two of my loves! I just wanted to say hello, thanks for a great site, and encourage you in the FPU class. The simple principles have changed the way we look at money, wants, & needs. We also feel very thankful having begun our marriage on the same financial page, using the principles we learned through FPU. It is truly life-changing.

      God Bless!
      Krysten in Ohio

    4. Krysten,
      What in the world is FPU Cake? We are LOVING the FPU class. We are seeing great success in the class in all of the participants. I can't believe we are half way through! What type of thing did you do at the last class to celebrate? We have loved facilitating the class, and most likely will do it again. Thanks for introducing yourself!

    5. Ok So I would love to learn more about this Soft white wheat because I have about 400lbs why cant it be used in bread but white flour can? cant you just use gluten? I do have a lot of hard white wheat but I am just wanting to learn more about it.

    6. Hi Amanda,
      Basically, whole wheat pastry flour (which is made from SOFT white wheat)is ideal for cookies, cakes, pastries, crackers, pancakes and other non-bread applications. It has a lower protein content (8-10%), so it is NOT good for making bread. Bread flour should contain between 12-14% protein.

      Vital wheat gluten only does one thing. It helps improve the rise and texture of the bread. Vital wheat gluten occurs naturally in all wheat and wheat derived white flours. Some white flours have more or less than others. In a dry form, it is used to give the yeast a boost because it contains a high amount of gluten forming proteins. Use it in your heavier breads that rise slowly, such as whole grains, rye, or ones loaded with sugar, dried fruit and nuts. Generally, if you are using white bread flour you don’t need to add any gluten. However, all-purpose or whole-grain flours need vital wheat gluten.

      As a general rule, use 1 tsp. per cup of all-purpose or 1 1/2 - 3 tsp. for every cup of whole grain or rye flours. Or 1 Tbsp. for each loaf of bread. Some recipes will differ in the amount of gluten to use.

      So, as for the 400 pounds of soft white wheat: Your bread will not turn out as good as either hard white or hard red wheat flour as far as the rise and texture, but it would work fabulously on all non-bread applications :)

    7. Ha ha, Katie...I should have explained...what I was looking for when I referred to "FPU Cake" was just a creative cake decorating idea to use for our final class. We always celebrate with a potluck while we watch The Great Misunderstanding DVD, and My husband and I usually get a big cake that says something like "Congrats FPU Grads!" or something like that. But I've heard of people who decorate cakes as giant credit cards, giving them one more to "cut up" as a finale! I did a search online and found some really cute ideas that I didn't have time for this year but I am bookmarking for next year's class! One was a big sheet cake decorated like a Visa, and right in the middle the folks had jammed a big shiny pair of scissors through it! It was so cool! The guest relations director at Dave Ramsey's office is actually a great cook and loves to bake, and she has recipes online such as "debt snowball cupcakes" that look delicious! I might consider making those during the "Dumping debt" lesson next year! Here's the link if you're interested:

      I'll be checking back here to follow your've now got me interested in a food dehydrator..hmmm.....

      Glad to hear you're loving the class. It really is a life-changer and my husband and I will be debt free in about a year because we've followed the simple principles. That's a good feeling!!

    8. I LOVE the idea of a FPU graduate cake! I am so doing that! Thanks for the link, I can't wait to check it out. As far as the dehydrator goes, YOU WILL LOVE IT!! I have the Excalibur brand, and would never go back to the round one like I used to use:)