effin’ Artisan Bread

It’s snowing outside. Not a flurry, a full on blizzard dumping inch after inch of snow by the hour. In the kitchen there’s another blizzard, my wife is making the PW’s cinnamon rolls. She is very precise with all of her measurements and hates when kitchen stuff is not where it belongs. Thanks to me, nothing is where it belongs. Oops.

“Where’s the teaspoon measuring thingie?!

[Draw slams]

“Uh, I’m pretty sure it’s in that draw you just slammed. Try looking for it again.”

[Rummages thru drawer; sounds of utensils clanking]

“It’s not here, [Puppy dog eyes] can you find it for me?

“But…I’m in the middle of my bread post” [Slams drawer]

“Fine, I’m never cooking again! You make them.”

Did I mention that we’re snowed in? You bet your bottom I went and scoured the kitchen for that measuring spoon.

So…back to the reason you’re reading this. We’re baking bread. I’m talkin’ the kind of round loaf you’d pick up from a corner bakery. Soft yet crispy crust. Chewy and slightly tangy flesh. Flour dusted around your lips after biting into it.¬† Pull it of the bag, rip a piece off and quickly butter it up while it’s still warm kind. Yea…you know what I’m talkin’ about. If you don’t…well, you will after you make this.

This post is long thorough.

Before you start in…I highly recommend you pick up a baking stone. I prefer the Williams-Sonoma kind, but you can pick up a cheap one from Bed Bath & Beyond¬† to get the job done. If you absolutely can’t get a stone, we can make this bread Jim Lahey style and dump it in a dutch oven to bake.

This recipe makes a huge batch. You will proof the dough and store the rest in the fridge. You will break off a chunk to bake.

Lastly, the key to a good tasting bread is a long and slow rise. This allows the dough to develop sourdough characteristics. I store my dough in the fridge and the bread I make after the dough has sat for about a week tastes different from the dough I made the second day. Try for yourself.

**This is a master recipe. See DIY section for other loaves made using this MR.

Let’s do this!

Get yourself:

  • 6.5C AP white unbleached flour
  • 1.5T Granulated yeast (Not rapid rise)
  • 1.5T Kosher salt
  • 3.5C Luke-warm water
  • Pizza peel
  • Pizza stone
  • Loaf pan
  • 1C tap water for steam
  • Stand mixer (optional)
  • Large bin for dough storage
  • Digital thermometer (optional)

Inspired by Artisan Bread in 5


Making the Dough

Grab your flour, salt, and yeast

Measure out your water and warm in microwave for ~30secs

Add yeast to water and stir

Should get foamy

Toss your salt into the flour and mix

Slowly add your yeast/water to flour/salt while mixing on slow

Mix until all liquid is incorporated into flour

**If you have some leftover dough in he fridge from a previous

batch then add a few oz to the new batch for extra flavor**

Mix with dough hook to bring everything together

*Remember, you’re not kneading the dough

Just combine until it’s shaggy

**If you don’t have a mixer you can add all ingredients to a mixing

bowl and just stir like crazy to combine with a wooden spoon

(I’ve broken wooden spoons this way)

Dump the shaggy dough into a large container

You’re going to cover (not airtight)

Add a little olive oil to container to prevent sticking

Let rise for 2-5 hrs. After initial rise, store in fridge

If you’re making bread right away…

Let dough rise ~18hrs overnight, then bake

After initial rise, dough should have doubled in size

It’s not Dom P, but it should be bubbly

Cover and store in fridge @ this pt.

Now you’ve made your dough. Pat yourself on the back

You’re halfway to a great loaf of bread

___________________________________________________________________________________________

Baking the Bread

Huge shout-out to my wifey for the photography in this section!

You better friggin’ give me credit for those pictures!

Ahhhh, she’s a sweetheart

Ok, let’s bake some bread!

Cut off a nice size piece of dough

Flour your hands and shape into a ball

Do this by folding the dough over on itself several times

It’s coming together

Have your pizza peel ready. I sprinkle mine with semolina flour

Once ball is formed, flip over and pinch bottom closed

Place dough on board and touch up

Flour ’em up

Moving clockwise, twist the dough with your palms until a nice plump ball forms

Sprinkle with flour

Stone on center rack. Pan on bottom

Preheat to 475F @ least 30mins before baking bread

Cover and let rest for ~30mins

Rested dough

Ready to slash and bake

Using a floured bread knife, slash dough

I went for a +, you can Zoro it if you want…go nuts

Moving QUICKLY, slide dough on stone

Add your tap water to hot pan

This technique creates steam in the oven while the bread bakes

Enhances the quality of the crust and crumb

Set a thermo to 208F

It will take about 35mins to get to this temp

Here’s what you want to look for…

Perfection

Tap the bottom, it should sound hollow

Glamour shots

Mouth watering yet?!

Chewy and airy “Butter me” flesh

Serve it warm. Butter it, dip it in seasoned olive oil, make a sandwich…

That’s a grilled cheese, baby.

I’m convinced Atkins lost his marbles

bc who in their right mind gives this up?!

Good food, Good wine, Good friends…that’s the only rule in this house…

oh and putting stuff back where you found it…

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4 responses to “effin’ Artisan Bread

  1. OH MAN! Joe, your bread is amazing!

  2. That looks real good. Thanks for the tip.

  3. This bread is gorgeous! If you can do this, you can definitely do the bagels! I was surprised at how easy they were.

    Thanks for visiting my blog and commenting!

  4. That is one fabulous loaf of bread. I can’t believe how much snow you guys had! Here in the city we didn’t even get a flake of snow all day.

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