Homemade “Artisan” Bread – Updated

Homemade “Artisan” Bread – Updated

I have decided to update this recipe simply because my “adult” children keep telling me that it isn’t clear. What do they know anyway….

It did get my attention though so I spent some time thinking about why and landed on the thought that my version of this recipe has morphed a bit, not because I make things better than the original, rather my other journeys in bread-making have somehow intersected with this one. Some people like their “artisan” bread a bit more spongy, but I like it with those big beautiful air pockets and a touch of sour.  This updated version, is that.

Original post below with update to the actual recipe below that.

Bread. It deserves so much more than I can give it here in this paltry blog post. There are religious, cultural, and now dietary rants centered around this mythical mix of flour, water, and yeast, (and maybe another ingredient or two…salt? honey?).

Some day I plan on writing a complete thesis on bread, but I am going to leave that for some other time when I can fully come to grips with all of the history and meaning that surrounds bread and its cousins and why it brings so many people together, and now tears so many apart.

Tacky Dough

Today, though, I want to talk about a recipe for a very simple loaf of bread that you can (and should) make every week.  After making this bread once, you won’t even shell out the $3-6 it costs to get awesome artisan bread from a local bakery and we have some great ones in the PNW.  Don’t get me wrong, if you can’t or won’t make bread at home, then you absolutely must start buying better bread at the store. My home keeps a couple of loaves of sandwich bread (Dave’s Killer or course) and at least one loaf of artisanal bread that we use for dinner, to soak up leftover sauces and soups, and general snacking.

This recipe for No-Knead Bread was “made famous” by an article written several years ago in the NY Times by the great food writer Mark Bittman about a local baker, Jim Lahey, from the Sullivan Street Bakery. This basic bread recipe has appeared in countless newspapers, magazine articles,  co0k books, and of course throughout the blogosphere since. Most recently I have seen it in Greg Atkinson’s At the Kitchen Table book, the Dinner: A Love Story blog, and my very own father ripped out an article from the Spokesman-Review the other day and mailed it to me (yes mail, stamps, etc.)!

No Knead Bread

This bread is SO EASY to make and is SO WORTH the little effort it takes to make it, that you will feel like equal parts grandmother and hipster baker in one bite. The time that it takes to let the dough develop its flavor yields a tangy, almost sourdough-like quality that you simply won’t be able to get enough of.  This is part “no knead” from Lahey fame and touch of knead near the end of the process. I don’t pretend to know more than the pros, I just prefer it this way personally.

Artisan Bread

400 grams (approx 3 cups) AP flour
1/4 t yeast
1 1/3 c water, lukewarm
1 1/4 t kosher salt
squeeze of honey

In a small bowl add the water, yeast and honey. Give it a good stir and let sit for 5-10 minutes until the yeast foams a bit.

Place the flour and salt into a larger bowl and when yeast mixture is done, add it to the flour and stir it about 15 times.  The dough should look craggy like the picture above. Cover with a plate and let sit on your kitchen counter overnight.

Next day dump the dough on a lightly floured counter or cutting board.  Form into a ball and start stretching from the middle out to the right and fold back to center, then repeat the process but from the left, from the top and then from the bottom. Flip over and cover with the same bowl and let sit for about 90 minutes.  Repeat the process and then place in your banneton and cover with a tea towel. Let sit on counter for at least another hour. When you are 30 minutes in, place your dutch oven in your oven with lid on and turn oven to to 475. Let them heat up together. When dough is ready (and oven), flip dough out directly into dutch oven (be careful will be very hot), slice with a razor blade, or snip with your kitchen shears a couple of 12 inch slices (this lets steam escape and gives it that cool texture). Place lid back on the dutch oven and let cook for about 30 minutes. After 30 minutes, remove the lid and finish for another 15.  Carefully remove from oven and flip bread onto your cooling rack. You should almost immediately hear the bread “sing.” This is the magic. Let it sit for about 30 minutes before you eat, if you can.  With the overnight ferment, plus the additional stretch, you should get big beautiful air pockets in the bread, which to me, is the perfect way.

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