Artisan Bread

By now you probably know I love to bake. I love to bake cakes, muffins, cookies, rolls and especially breads. There is nothing I love more than the smell of bread baking in the oven. The smell makes me feel so good, it’s just very relaxing and comforting for me.

I remember a few years ago, before I started experimenting with baking, in a galaxy far far away, my husband bought me a bread machine.

I was excited!

For many weeks we made lots of bread, all kinds of bread, I got a couple books with different recipes for making bread with your bread machine and I tried a lot of them and we loved them all.

But like any other gadget we get, the excitement eventually dies off, and we slowly forget about our love. Later on we moved and now I don’t even know what happened with that bread machine. Probably sold it in a garage sale.

However, I discovered that it’s more fun to make bread myself without a bread machine, well since I didn’t have one anymore, and I wasn’t about to buy another one. I do have my good old trusted KitchenAid mixer which I cannot live without and for this bread, I made the dough with the mixer. You don’t have to but it’s a lot easier.

Now I cannot tell you how easy this bread is to make, and with only 4 ingredients. Beat that!

I have had this recipe for a while now, at least a couple years and I personally got the recipe from a friend of mine. Apparently this is the same as the recipe in Artisan Bread in Five Minutes a Day: The Discovery That Revolutionizes Home BakingBread Baking Books), however I don’t own the book, so I’m not sure, but if it is their recipe I’d like to give them credit for it.

So this is very simple, no kneading required. In a medium bowl add the lukewarm water, it has to be a bit warmer than body temperature, add the salt and the yeast and stir together. In the bowl of your mixer add all the flour and the pour the yeast mixture over the flour. Using the dough hook mix it all together. The dough will be sticky so don’t be tempted to add more flour.

Now you can place the dough in a big plastic container with a lid, but do not close the lid completely, leave one corner open a bit. Or you can just place it in a big bowl and wrap it up really well with plastic wrap and poke a couple small holes with a toothpick so that the gases can escape a little. Let it rise in a warm place for a good two hours.

Now as I said there is no kneading necessary, so all you have to do is shape your bread, but because the dough is really sticky you need to put lots of flour on your hands. Basically you have to divide the dough in two and shape each piece. Again add as much flour as necessary to your hands to avoid dough from sticking. It is ideal to bake this bread on a stone, but if you do not have a stone you can just use a regular baking sheet covered with parchment paper. Shape the dough and place it seam down on the baking sheet or stone. Sprinkle some more flour on top. You need to let the bread rest for another 30 minutes so that it rises a bit more.

Preheat the oven to 450 F degrees. Before placing the bread in the oven, slash the top of your bread with a knife, it will make your bread look pretty, plus it will allow for the trapped gases to escape. Also place a pan with a cup of water in it and slide it in the bottom rack and the bread on the middle rack. As the water heats up in the oven, it will create steam which will give the bread that nice crusty top. Trust me, you will want to do this. Bake the bread for 30 to 35 minutes and let it cool completely before cutting into it. I know it’s hard, I love hot bread, just the thought of it now, makes me crave it.

Trust me it will be worth it if you make your own bread, you’ll get satisfaction and your tummy will thank you too.

Artisan Bread

Rating: 51

Prep Time: 10 minutes

Cook Time: 33 minutes

Yield: 2 loaves

Artisan Bread

Ingredients:

  • 3 cups of lukewarm water
  • 1 1/2 tbsp active dry yeast
  • 1 1/2 tbsp salt
  • 6 1/2 cups all purpose flour

Instructions:

  1. In a medium bowl add the warm water, salt and yeast and stir together.
  2. In the bowl of your mixer add all the flour, then pour the yeast mixture over the flour and mix using the dough hook of your mixer, until it's all well incorporated.
  3. Place the dough in a large plastic container, it needs room to rise, and put the lid on it, but do not close completely, there needs to be one corner left open to let the gases escape. Alternatively, you can use a large bowl, covered well with plastic wrap and poke a couple small holes in the top using toothpicks.
  4. Let the dough rise for 2 hours.
  5. The dough will be very sticky and elastic. It is recommended to bake this on a stone, however a regular baking sheet will work just fine. Cover the baking sheet, or stone with parchment paper.
  6. Add flour to your hands, and divide the dough in two pieces. Add more flour to your hands as necessary. Shape the dough into the desired shape for your bread and place it seam down on the baking sheet. Sprinkle some more flour on top of the loaves. Let the loaves rest for another 30 minutes so that they can rise a bit.
  7. Preheat oven to 450 F degrees. Before placing the bread in the oven, add a pan with a cup of water and place it in the bottom rack. Slash the top of your bread, to allow gases to escape.
  8. Bake the bread for 30 to 35 minutes. The water will allow for the bread to form a nice crusty top.
  9. Cool on a rack before serving.
http://www.jocooks.com/bakery/breads/artisan-bread/

Enjoy!

Comments

  1. Kathy says

    Hi Jo. It’s Sunday morning and I intend to have fresh bread after church. My family will love it. This is my first try at it. But I really love sweet bread. Can I add sugar for variety?
    Kathy

    • says

      I don’t think adding sugar to this bread will hurt, but I’m not sure how much you’re talking about, I’m thinking 1 tbsp or so. If you like sweet bread, I have lots of other breads on my blog that have sugar in them. But usually adding sugar is a good thing, especially with yeast. Let me know how this bread turns out.

  2. Pearly Q Quest says

    This is amazing Jo, thank you. It is now my go-to bread. This is better than the King Arthur’s flour recipe because it is less complex. I ended up making this with 3 cups of white flour and 3 cups of whole wheat flour, and added another 1/2 cup of water. I made one large European loaf out of it so you need to put it under your armpit like a football and cut it like that lol.

    Jo, I love your user-friendly recipes. I hate it when recipes ask me to do crazy things like go find a pig, bring it to the nearest rainforest and have it scour the earth for truffles, things like that. Your recipes are for gourmets with a love of simplicity and flair.

    • says

      Hi Pearly, you crack me up! My husband and I are visualizing the pig right now, that pig’s got quite a job. Glad you like my recipes. :)

  3. Lana says

    Does the dough freeze well? Because I love doubling recipes and storing the excess in the freezer. That way I can always have bread when I want it with minimal wait time

  4. Peggy says

    I’ve made this twice in the past week; it is so easy to do and so good! Brought a loaf in to work this morning with some butter and honey . . . just one slice left.

  5. Hannah says

    Hi Jo,
    I’m making this right now and wondering how you formed the loaves. After rising, the dough was too sticky for me to do anything besides separate it and pat it down. Did I miss something, or is there a trick to it?
    Thanks,
    Hannah

    • says

      Hi Dora,
      Absolutely, I just wanted to use a mixer to make my life easier, but you can use a wooden spoon and mix it just as well.

  6. Hannah says

    This bread looks amazing. My parents had a bread maker when I was little and we used to go to the bulk food store and get the flour. Unfortunately the store closed and it became too expensive to bake bread. We still have the bread maker though.

    I’m book marking this bread and hoping I’ll have the chance to try it while I’m at school this semester. I just spent six weeks in France and the bread was always fresh and delicious. My question is, can I use whole wheat flour in this recipe at all or will it ruin it?

    • says

      Hi Hannah,
      I’ve never tried it with whole wheat flour myself, but I don’t think it would ruin it, though maybe you should try half whole wheat and half white and see how that turns out. If you don’t want to waste too much flour while you experiment with this, cut the recipe in half and make one loaf only and see how that turns out.
      Good luck.

  7. says

    hi..just want to say thank you for posting this…I have no oven at home I really do want to learn how to bake… just a simple bread make me smile if ever I bake one…I only have a microwave and turbo hallogen turbo oven does it okay to used?

    • says

      HI Raquel,
      I am not sure about the hallogen turbo oven, as I don’t have one. Perhaps the oven’s instruction booklet will tell you if you can bake bread in it.
      Good luck.

  8. says

    The smell of bread REEAALLY is the best, right??

    There’s a cute little bakery just around the corner where I live who use to start baking their goods around midnight already sometimes. Passing it is HEAVAN.

    Your bread looks gorgeous and so simple! Defo a keeper!

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