Recipe Monday: Bake Your Own Artisan Bread!

 

Stay with me on this one.  

It’s your recipe for Recipe Monday and though it looks long, you might not bake it until Tuesday. So today when you get home from work, do the first three steps pretty quickly and let the bread rise.  

When you get home after work, grab a piece of dough and  bake it. The five-minute part in the title is for the amount of time it takes you to put the bread dough on the baking sheet.  You then let it rest on the counter and pop it in the oven for about 25 minutes. It is so good!

Recipe adapted from www.food52.com

5-Minute Artisan Bread

Ingredients

  • 3 cups lukewarm water (100°F or 38°C) (24 oz), plus more for the broiler tray
  • 1 tablespoon granulated yeast (active dry, instant, quick rise, or bread machine is fine)
  • 1 to 1 1/2 tablespoons kosher or other coarse salt, to taste
  • 6 1/2 cups unbleached all-purpose flour, measured by the scoop-and-sweep method
  • Cornmeal, for dusting (optional)

Directions

  1. Warm the water so that it’s slightly warmer than body temperature—about 100° F (warm to touch, but not hot).
  2. In a large bowl, mix the yeast, warm water, and salt. Don’t worry about getting the yeast to dissolve.
  3. Add the flour all at once, then use a spoon to mix until the flour is completely incorporated and you have a blobby dough. (If it becomes difficult to stir, use very wet hands to press the mixture together.) Don’t knead the dough—you want it to be wet and loose; just be sure there are no dry flour patches.
  4. Loosely cover the container and let the dough hang out at room temperature for about 2 hours, until it begins to rise and collapse/flatten on the top.
  5. After those 2 hours, stash the container in the fridge. If you’re using a lid, leave it cracked open for the first couple of days before sealing it. You can bake the dough any time after the initial 2-hour rise, but it will be less sticky once it’s been refrigerated—it’s best to leave it overnight before handling.
  6. Once refrigerated, the dough will seem to have shrunk, but don’t worry. Do not punch the dough down, as you’re trying to retain as much gas as possible. You can use the dough anytime within 14 days.
  7. When you want to bake a loaf, dust a pizza peel or upside down baking sheet with cornmeal or line with parchment paper. Sprinkle it generously with flour if using a baking sheet. Lightly flour a work surface. Measure a 1-pound piece of dough. Add just enough flour to the dough and your hands so that you can handle it without freaking out. Stretch the dough ever-so-gently and gather the outsides towards the middle, tucking the edges underneath. Using the counter for pressure, use your hands to drag and draw the dough quickly into a ball shape. Don’t work it too much and don’t worry about perfection.
  8. Place the shaped loaves on your pizza peel or baking sheet. Let it rest for 40 minutes. It may not rise much during this period, so don’t stress.
  9. Preheat the oven to 450° F for at least 20 to 30 minutes. Preheat a baking stone, baking sheet, or a heavy Dutch oven (lid and pot, both—but separated) on a middle rack the entire time. If you’re baking the bread on a stone or baking sheet (as opposed to a Dutch oven), place a cast-iron pan on any rack that will not interfere.
  10. If you let the dough rise on a peel or baking sheet, dust the top of the raised loaf with flour and use a serrated bread knife to slash a 1/2-inch deep cross on the top.
  11. Transfer the loaf to the hot peel/baking sheet/pot in the oven. If your dough rose on a peel or sheet dusted with cornmeal, you’ll have to push then pull it so that it lands on the hot stone or sheet or in the pot. If you’ve let it rise on parchment, you can simply lift the parchment and place the dough, parchment and all, onto your hot surface.
  12. If you’re using a stone or a sheet, add 1/2 cup of ice to the cast-iron pan when you put the dough in the oven to create steam. Be careful to stand back and step away immediately! If you’re using a pot, there’s no need for that—simply close the lid (be careful—it’s hot!) when you add the dough. This will generate enough steam within the pot.
  13. Check the bread after 20 minutes. If using a Dutch oven, this is when you should remove the lid and let the crust get dark. When the crust is very brown and firm, remove from the oven (tap the bottom—if it sounds hollow, it’s done) and let cool completely on a wire rack.

READ MORE: Arkansas’ Best Breakfast Spots

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