31 July 2014

Easy Artisan Bread - Foolproof Artisan Bread

Easy Artisan Bread / www.delightfulrepast.com

Not everyone has the time, or the inclination, to make homemade bread; but everyone loves it. If you are one of many who liked the idea of the easy baked-in-a-pot no-knead bread but didn't like the idea of hefting a really heavy pot when it's smoking hot, this method is for you. 

If you have a pizza stone, great. If not, think about getting a Lodge Pro-Logic Cast Iron Pizza Pan 
instead. I've had mine for several years and use it like a pizza stone for both pizza and rustic loaves. It's much easier to get the dough on and off a flat surface than in and out of a deep pot. 

This is so easy to make, you can stir up a batch every day if you like. We don't use quite that much bread usually, so I just start a batch every other day. It just sits on the counter, so you don't have to find space in your refrigerator for a big bowl.

Yes, it's easy, even foolproof; but more important, this is some seriously good bread. And it makes really great toast for breakfast or bruschetta or crostini.

My name is Jean, and I am a breadaholic! How much do you like bread? What kind? When?

Easy Artisan Bread - Foolproof Artisan Bread / www.delightfulrepast.com

Easy Artisan Bread - Foolproof Artisan Bread

(Makes one round 32-ounce/907-gram European-style boule)

4 1/2 dip-and-sweep cups (22.5 ounces/638 grams) unbleached all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons salt
1/2 teaspoon instant yeast
1 3/4 cups water, room temperature

1 Start dough 22 hours* before you plan to serve the bread. In large bowl, whisk together flour, salt and yeast. Add water and stir with dough whisk or large spoon until the dough just comes together into a sticky dough with no dry flour left in the bowl. Cover with lid or plastic wrap and let stand 18 hours* on countertop.

* If that doesn't suit your schedule, you can make that a couple hours less or more.

2 Line a rimless baking sheet (or a rimmed one turned upside down) with a square of parchment paper. Turn dough out onto lightly floured surface and press out lightly with your fingertips to a 10- to 12-inch square. Fold it in thirds, like a letter, then in thirds again. Round off the square, tucking edges under to form a ball. Place smooth side up on parchment-lined baking sheet. Cover with a large clear bowl or, as I do, with a 10-inch-diameter cake dome. Or spray the dough lightly with cooking spray and cover lightly with a piece of plastic wrap. Let rise 1 1/2 hours. The dough will spread more than it will increase in height. 

Bread Dough Second Rise / www.delightfulrepast.com

3 After an hour, place pizza stone or cast iron pizza pan on top shelf in the middle of the oven. Preheat oven and pizza stone or pan at 500 degrees for 30 minutes.

4 Using a lame (pronounced l
ahm), razor blade or very sharp knife, score the top of the loaf. Holding the blade straight, make each cut quickly and about 1/4-inch deep. You might have to make the cuts twice. I like a simple tic-tac-toe pattern (see photo above the recipe) or the pattern pictured below. If the blade seems to be dragging, wet it before each cut. Brush the dough with a little water.

Note: Brushing the dough with a little water with my OXO silicone pastry brush is much simpler than filling up a spray bottle and spraying the loaf.

Artisan Bread Boule / www.delightfulrepast.com

5 Carefully slide the dough (on the parchment) onto the stone or cast iron pizza pan and reduce heat to 425 degrees. Bake about 45 minutes, or until the crust is beautifully golden and middle of loaf registers 210 degrees on an instant-read thermometer.

6 Slide the rimless baking sheet under the bread to remove it from the oven; let cool on wire rack for 1 1/2 to 2 hours. If not eating right away, you can re-crisp crust in oven at 350 degrees for 10 minutes. It's best the day it is baked but can be kept, wrapped in foil, at room temperature for up to 2 days. Or keep cut side down covered with a towel to preserve the crust's crunch.

Note: Check out Homemade Bread - A Roundup of 10 Favorite Yeast and Quick Breads



A Whole Lotta Magic said...

Yum! Looks so good!


Jean | DelightfulRepast.com said...

Thank you! And it's soooo easy!

Anonymous said...

I love bread too! Thanks so much for the wonderful photos and recipe. We stopped at a bakery yesterday that had a large selection of bread.

Jean | DelightfulRepast.com said...

Thanks, Mildred! I hope you'll give this one a try, but I warn you, it's addictive!

Sippity Sup said...

Hmm. I'm sure I've mentioned this before, but I suck at bread. Pizza dough however I can handle. I see similarities. So maybe, just maybe. GREG

Jean | DelightfulRepast.com said...

Yes, Greg, your pizza skills will definitely kick in / carryover for this!

Cheryl said...

Who could resist such a beautiful loaf of homemade bread?! (Not I.)

By the way, I made your apricot upside-down cake earlier this week and shared your link on my blog. That cake was so delicious!! Thank you! :)

Angie's Recipes said...

That's a perfect artisan boule, Jean.

Jean | DelightfulRepast.com said...

Cheryl, thank you! It makes me so happy when someone makes my recipes! I'm so glad you liked it.

Jean | DelightfulRepast.com said...

Thanks, Angie! I always love AND hate that first slice into a homemade loaf of bread - love just looking at it whole.

Cranberry Morning said...

I read this post last night and started wondering where my cast iron griddle is. I could use that in my oven. Love this idea, Jean! Thanks for the recipe.

Jean | DelightfulRepast.com said...

The cast iron griddle would work perfectly. As would, probably, a large cast iron skillet. I hope you'll try this soon, Judy, and let me know you liked it!

Brooks said...

Jean, what a gorgeous loaf you have! Your statement regarding how everyone loves artisan bread in contrast to its labor intensive process is spot on. The method you provide here, though, makes producing a tasty loaf tangible.

Jean | DelightfulRepast.com said...

Brooks, thank you sooo much! (And, folks, this man is a great professional baker!)

Amy at love made my home said...

It sounds great Jean! xx

Jean | DelightfulRepast.com said...

Thanks, Amy! And it's soooo easy!

bj said...

"Hello..My name is Jean and I am a Breadaholic."
See, we have 2 things in common, right off the bat. :)
They say (wo)man can't live by bread alone...but it "ain't" so. :)
I can't wait to try this recipe..

I like oatmeal, too, and we eat a lot of it in winter...I don't like the instant, tho...gotta be the old fashioned. And, yes, with the micro, it's very fast.

Jean | DelightfulRepast.com said...

Thanks, BJ! Let me know how it turns out for you. Yep, it's gotta be old-fashioned oats, and I too make it in the microwave.

Giovanna @ Love, Thyme and Honey said...

That's a gorgeous loaf of bread! Super easy to make as well, I love it! :)

Jean | DelightfulRepast.com said...

Thanks, Giovanna! It makes great toast, too.

Russell from Chasing Delicious said...

Such a gorgeous loaf! And I am always a fan of an easy load of bread.

Jean | DelightfulRepast.com said...

Thanks so much, Russell! I do love kneading, though - very therapeutic!

Thalia @ butter and brioche said...

definitely inspired to make my own bread.. this looks delicious! (if only i could get over my phobia of yeast proving...)

Jean | DelightfulRepast.com said...

Thalia, this recipe will definitely help you get over your yeast phobia! :D Do let me know how you do with it or if you need any encouragement along the way!

Liz That Skinny Chick Can Bake said...

Oh, yeah, I'm a bread-a holic, too! And I like mine warm and smeared with butter! Your loaf looks perfect!

Jean | DelightfulRepast.com said...

Thanks, Liz! Yes, lots of butter, please!