Tuesday, November 3, 2015

Easy Artisan Bread

Feel like impressing someone with your baking skills? Need a hearty, crusty bread that will sop up your soup, chowder, stew, or marinara without breaking the bank? This easy artisan bread is for you!

Seriously, no special supplies needed. No mixer needed. No kneading needed, come to think of it. This bread  just requires a little time without much hands-on effort. The amazing thing, apart from the taste, is how beautifully rustic each loaf is! Pulling a loaf of artisan bread out of your oven is extremely satisfying, and sharing it is an easy way to "Wow" dinner guests, family members, and frenemies. (Not that we have those, because we are adults. I am merely trying to underline how impressive this easy artisan bread is.)

The loaf is crusty on the outside- very crunchy. You can knock on a loaf of this easy artisan bread and the only mark you will see is on your knuckles. The hard, crusty outside makes it perfect for dipping in everything from a brothy soup, to a thick and creamy Corn Chowder. The inside is soft, almost flaky, and extra flavorful due to the amount of time the dough rests before baking. Plan on letting the dough rest for 2-5 hours after mixing it up, and then another 40 minutes once you've formed the loaf. I know that sounds intense, but this is not dough that you have to babysit. Mix it up, run some errands, clean the house, watch a few Sherlock episodes, and you're ready for baking.

When I make it, I just make one massive loaf. It fills a good portion of my well-seasoned pizza stone. You can cut the dough in half, baking two loaves, or the dough will keep in the fridge for up to two weeks, as long as it is in a tightly sealed container.

I love this easy artisan bread. Last time I made it I was planning on dipping it in tomato soup. I ended up bagging the soup and just eating bread for dinner.The dough is easy to put together, and the taste is unbeatable. It has saved me from making a trip to the bread store many times. Plus it smells as amazing as it tastes!

Easy Artisan Bread

  • 3 cups warm water
  • 1 1/2 tbs instant yeast
  • 1 tbs salt 
  • 6 1/2 cups all purpose flour, plus more for dusting loaf
  1. In a large bowl, mix yeast with warm water. Let yeast get frothy, about 3-5 minutes.
  2. Add salt and flour. Mix until there are no dry patches, but dough will be pretty loose.
  3. Cover and let rest at room temperature for 2-5 hours. 
  4. Get a piece of parchment paper as large as a pizza stone. Set parchment on a pizza peel or an upside down cookie sheet. Take dough in floured hands, gently form loaf, and place on parchment paper. Make 3 slashes on the top of the loaf with a serrated knife Let rest for 40 minutes.  If making 2 loaves, divide dough in half and repeat process, forming 2 loaves.
  5. Preheat oven to 450 degrees. Heat pizza stone in oven for 20 minutes. Lightly dust loaf with flour.
  6. Carefully slide parchment paper with loaf onto the pizza stone in the oven. Pour 1 cup of hot water into a broiler pan, or cake pan, and place on bottom rack of oven, shutting the door quickly to trap steam inside oven.
  7. Bake until well browned, about 25-28 minutes. Cool completely, (if you can wait), before slicing. 

Bake the bread. Share the slices.

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