Sunday, March 27, 2011

Freshly Baked Bread

Several months ago, a friend's blog introduced me to a fantastic recipe for artisan bread.  I LOVE bread.  I love the way that it makes the house smell.  I love cutting into a steamy loaf fresh from the oven (although if its too fresh it's really hard to cut and gets all smooshy).  I love the crisp crust and the soft yeasty taste.  My girls both love bread.  My husband loves bread.  This is the perfect recipe for us.  And, I'm just guessing here, this is the perfect recipe for you.

It's a yeast bread recipe that isn't a bit scary.  It is the easiest bread recipe I've ever come across.  A yeast bread that is easier than a quick bread.  No. Joke.

Eat this bread plain.  Eat it with some butter.  Or...maybe try this delightful Peach Butter (I'll add this recipe later in the week).  But please, try this recipe if you've got a hankerin' for some homemade bread.  

Artisan Bread
From: Artisan Bread in Five Minutes a Day by Jeff Hertzberg and Zoe Francois
Here's my version of the recipe.  But if you make this, I recommend following the link to the article and reading through the "real" recipe.
(makes 4, 1-lb loaves, the pictures above show a 1-lb loaf)
3 c. lukewarm water (about 100 degrees, but I never measure)
1-1/2 Tbsp. yeast (1-1/2 to 2 pkgs)
1-1/2 Tbsp. kosher or coarse salt
6-1/2 C. flour
Mix water, yeast and salt together, but you don't need to disolve the yeast all the way.  Add the flour and mix until all flour is mixed in and a ball (a slightly sticky ball) forms.  I use the dough hook on my stand mixer.  Dump in a 5-qt container.  If it has a lid, all the better, just leave one corner open.  Let this sit on the counter for at least 2 but no more than 5 hours.  Put in the fridge until you're ready to use.  When you're ready to use it, cut off about 1/4 of the dough (it will be sticky, so throw some extra flour on the dough and incorporate so it is manageable).  Gently knead in your hands a few times and form into a ball or loaf.  Put it on a cookie sheet (I line the sheet with parchment so it doesn't stick) and let it sit for 30-40 minutes (more is better).  about 15 - 20 mins in, put a pan of water in the oven and heat to 450. Just before baking, cut a couple of long slits in the top of the loaf with a cerrated knife. Bake @ 450 for 30 mins. 
Dough stores in the fridge for about 2 weeks. 


  1. Merry - I love this blog! I tried your meatloaf recipe over spring break and it was great! Actually, I thought it was even better the next day - and I love it when leftovers go over well. I'm also planning to try your cheesecake brownies for a shower I'm going to soon. And, I've definitely had a hankering for bread. In fact, I just bought yeast at the store today so I'd have it on hand when I was ready. Okay... now I'm hungry and it is way too late to eat! Thanks for posting all your tasty foods :)!

  2. I agree with Rachel - love this blog. I'm definitely going to be trying the bread!

  3. Isn't it great?! You should make pretzels with the dough. I've left the dough out overnight a few times due to laziness and it takes on a sour flavor sort of like beer bread. I really don't think there's much you can do to mess it up.