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Not all bread is created equal. You don’t need to be a baker, a foodie or even fully awake to notice that tearing into crusty, freshly-baked loaf is a lot nicer than the supermarket sliced variety – but beyond that, things can get confusing.
‘Artisan’, for example…
It’s a term you see a lot in the food world these days, along with ‘craft’, ‘fresh’ and the vaguest of all, ‘real’. They’re usually used to signify care, expertise and quality of ingredients, but currently there are no official restrictions on who can use these terms; so it’s always worth finding out the story behind the label.
At The Flour Station we use the word ‘artisan’ to sum up just how much attention we give our products; the long, traditional processes we use and the way we closely monitor every single handmade loaf, like protective parents, to make sure it comes out beautifully. In short, it’s very well-bred bread.
But what about flavour?
Of course, there’s no point in toiling away at traditional methods if the result has less taste than an Elton John costume convention. But whatever you call them, the truth is that artisanal techniques really do lead to more delicious bread.
As with so many things, the key to a great loaf is patience. Most mass-produced bread in the UK (80 per cent) is made with the Chorleywood Process, which uses chemicals and high-energy mixers to speed up fermentation. The result is, as you might expect, pretty unremarkable bread – and lots of it.
By contrast, a long fermentation process gives dough up to 24 hours to develop, allowing the natural enzymes to react with the flour in their own time for a much more robust flavour and texture.
You might not know…
Artisan bread is actually easier to digest, because the enzymes have had time to begin breaking down the gluten in the flour while fermenting. And you can take time to savour it too – as a rule of thumb, the longer the production process, the longer its shelf life will be.
But whatever you call it, whether you buy it from a market, a bakery or even make it yourself, there’s no doubt that slow and steady wins the baking race. We’ll toast to that.
Easy Homemade Artisan Bread (In 5 Minutes)
To make the dough, you mix everything in a bowl. That’s it. The initial rise takes two or more hours. But this rise doesn’t need to be babysat, as you let it grow until it collapses in on itself. Then you take the resulting gloriously yeasty, puffy pile of dough, stick it in a tub, pop it in the fridge, and saw off a hunk whenever you have a hankering for fresh, warm bread. Nothing to it.
The longer the bread stays in your fridge (up to about two weeks), the more flavourful it becomes and the larger the air holes will be. Others have said that it improves greatly by keeping it in the fridge for just 24 hours, and that the longer it is in there, the better it will be. I personally thought it was scrumptious the very first day, and with my patience deficiency, there was no way in heck it was going to last more than a few days.
The “five minutes a day” thing really only refers to the active time once the dough is prepared (i.e. cutting off a chunk, flouring it, and slashing it). It takes a bit more than five to mix up the initial batch – maybe five-and-a-half, six minutes? Then on the day you bake it, it needs to rest for at least 40 minutes once it is shaped. Plus about a half-hour in the oven. But no time will be spent grunting and fretting as you might do when making bread the traditional way…. which you may never do again, once you try making it this way!
- 1 1/2 tablespoons yeast
- 1 1/2 tablespoons salt coarse salt (kosher or sea salt)
- 3 cups water
- 6 1/2 cups unbleached, all-purpose flour, more for dusting dough (*you can replace about 1 to 1 1/2 cups of white flour with any whole grain flour with great results).
1. In a large bowl, mix yeast and salt into 3 cups warm water. Add flour, and stir to combine completely. Let dough rise in a warm place for at least two hours, until it rises and collapses (up to 5 hours – or even overnight won’t hurt it). The dough may be baked at this point, or refrigerated for later use.
2. Cover dough, but make sure it is not airtight – gases need to escape – and place in fridge. When you are ready to use it, throw a small fistful of flour on the surface and use a serrated knife to cut off a piece of the size you desire. (The authors recommend a 1 pound loaf – which means cutting off grapefruit-sized piece of dough). Turning the dough in your hands, stretch the surface of the dough and tuck in under. The surface will be smooth, and the bottom with be bunched.
3. Dust a pizza peel (or any flat surface – I use a rimless cookie sheet) with cornmeal. (This prevents sticking, and adds a nice, rustic crunch. You can use flour instead, but you’ll need to use a very generous dusting). Allow dough to rest in a warm place for 40 minutes – longer (up to an hour and a half) if you use some whole wheat flour in place of the white, or if you make a larger loaf.
4. Twenty minutes before baking, preheat oven to 450 degrees with baking stone (or overturned baking sheet) inside on the middle rack, plus a shallow pan on the top rack. Throw a small fistful of flour over the dough, slash it 2-4 times with a serrated knife (in a cross, a tic-tac-toe, or a fan), and slide it into the oven, onto the baking stone. Throw 1-2 cups of tap water into the shallow pan, and quickly shut the oven door to trap steam inside. Bake for 30 minutes, or until crust is well browned and bread sounds hollow when you knock on the bottom.
Bread Beginners– Start Here
Have you ever wanted to master homemade bread? Real, crusty, chewy, delicious bakery-style loaves that taste incredible with dips, soups, sauces, and comforting dinners? This recipe is where you start. This artisan bread is for beginners, but even bread masters will appreciate its flavor and ease. It’s so fresh, so flavorful, and so surprisingly easy because it basically makes itself.
You only need 4 ingredients without any special pans or mixer, there’s no kneading, no poolish or dough starter required, and you can add herbs, cheeses, and spices to make a variety of bread flavors.
This base recipe will soon be on repeat in your kitchen. After you realize how easy it is to make real homemade bread, you’ll find any excuse to bake a loaf.
Artisan Bread Vs. Regular Bread
That takes care of the definition, but it doesn’t explain how it’s different from ordinary bread.
The main distinguishing feature between the two is consistency. Every loaf of Wonder Bread you buy will have the same flavor and texture. Since artisan bread bakers use a less controlled process, every bread will have its character and mouthfeel.
Artisan bread also typically uses traditional yeast fermenting techniques. The benefit of using traditional techniques is more flavorful bread and it often has a more nuanced flavor profile than their mass-produced counterparts. However, if you’re used to the blander and more predictable taste of bread, you might go through a transitional period before you get used to the artisan one.
In mass-produced bread, there is very little fermentation built into the process which results in a more closed-cell structure. Artisan bread, on the other hand, often has a much more open and airy look to it since the bread rises from fermentation rather than the kneading process.
Note that this doesn’t make artisan bread necessarily healthier. Research into the health effects of both hasn’t provided any clinically significant benefits from eating artisan bread over other types of commercial ones.
Lastly, all that fermentation, careful attention, and work by hand take a lot of time. This type of bread takes far longer to make than industrialized one and consequently tends to be more expensive.
What ingredients do you need for sourdough
The beauty of sourdough bread it that it can be made using just three ingredients which are flour, water and salt for flavour.
The sourdough starter is made from flour and water and you just need to add that to more flour and water along with some salt to create an amazing sourdough loaf.
It’s sometimes difficult to believe that something which looks and tastes so good can be made from such simple ingredients, but this is what makes sourdough a truly artisan process.
Other ingredients can be added depending on the recipe, but I just wanted to explain how good sourdough can be in it’s purest form.
Artisan Bread Recipe
No need to visit the fancy bakery when you can make this Artisan Bread Recipe at home!! The dough comes together in 5 minutes and can be refrigerated for 14 days, making it easy to have freshly baked bread every night!
Photos Updated November 2014
We are surrounded by many different “trends” every day. Fashion is a big one. And there are financial trends, and weather trends, and definitely food trends. Before I discovered food blogging, I never really knew there were food trends. I just kind of made what I wanted, without realizing what the world around me was doing. But my eyes have been opened – in a good way. There are 2 big trends I’ve noticed in the food blogging world lately. The first is Dorie Greenspan. I think her newest book has taken over the blogging world. I’d be surprised to find more than a handful of food bloggers that haven’t heard about her, or that don’t have the book. The second trend that has hit us lately is the book Artisan Bread in Five Minutes a Day by Jeff Hertzberg and Zoe Francois. It’s like the no-knead bread that took the world by storm a while back, but everyone claims this is even better. So when I was lucky enough to win a copy of this book from Steamy Kitchen awhile back, I was ecstatic. When I received the book, I read all of the beginning instructions many times. But being the procrastinator that I am, it took me a couple of weeks until I finally decided to try it out.
I love bread. I could eat it with every meal. But then I’d have to buy a whole new wardrobe, because unfortunately, I don’t have a metabolism that can handle bread at every meal! So while I love to make bread, I don’t do it a whole lot. And since there are only 2 of us, I thought I’d be safe making a half batch of this artisan bread recipe. I mixed everything up and stuck it in the fridge to be made another day.
I got 2 loaves out of a half recipe. The first loaf I made to serve with our Valentine’s Day dinner. And do you know what? It really does take 5 minutes or less of hands on time, and I was able to make this after work and have hot bread on the table for dinner. I did have a little problem with that first loaf, though. From the front, it looked really pretty. But from the back? I don’t know what happened, but part of the underside did something funky and blew out the bottom!! I had a good laugh about it, but it didn’t affect the taste at all. My husband and I ate the whole loaf at dinner that night, still hot from the oven. We dipped it in some olive oil, and it was almost like we were eating out!
The second loaf turned out better all the way around. As much as I enjoyed the first loaf, the second one was even better!! I was able to shape and slash it a little better (I’m getting better at this every time!) and I loved the taste of it even more. It says in the book that the longer the dough sits in the fridge, the more of a sourdough flavor it will take on, and it really does.
So is this artisan bread recipe really worth all of the hype around it?? You bet it is! Not only is it way easier than traditional bread making, but it is way faster, and the only way I can have fresh bread on the table for dinner while working all day long!!
Check out these other breads made from this book. And if these posts don’t make you want to run out and buy the book, I don’t know what will!
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How to Make Artisan Bread
The recipe below says it only takes 1 hour to make, but that’s just the “hands-on” time. The dough itself needs 18 hours to rise (and ferment), so please be aware of that!
MIX. Whisk the flour, salt and yeast in a medium bowl. While stirring with a wooded spoon, gradually add the water, stir until incorporated. Mix the dough gently and form into a rough ball.
PROOF. Transfer to a large clean (ungreased) bowl. Cover with plastic wrap and let dough rise in a draft-free area at room temperature. When the dough has doubled in size and is covered in bubbles, you know it’s ready to go. Sometimes this process can take up to 24 hours, especially if its winter and your house is really cold, however, in the summer it can take as little as 12 hours.
PREP. When the dough is ready, place a Dutch oven (with the lid on) into the oven and turn it on to 450 degrees. Allow it to heat in the oven for 30 minutes.
FORM LOAF. Meanwhile, transfer the dough to a well-floured surface. Take the corners and fold under, creating a ball. Place it on a large square of parchment paper (big enough to cover the bottom of your Dutch oven), then dust the dough with flour, cover with plastic wrap and allow it to rest for 15 minutes. Using a sharp knife (FYI: I don’t let my toddler do this part ☺️), at a 90 degree angle, score an X in the top of the loaf.
**Tip**: Each score mark should be about 2 ½ inches long and about ¼″ deep. Scoring the loaf will help prevent unwanted cracks and will help the loaf rise up instead of expand out. Then, using a mister, spray bottle, clean toothbrush or pastry brush, lightly mist (or brush) the top of the bread with water. You don’t want to drench the dough, just give it a nice kiss of moisture. This little trick will help create a nice crust.
BAKE. Carefully remove Dutch oven from the hot oven. Place the shaped dough into it, cover and return it to the oven to bake for 30 minutes. Remove the lid and bake for an additional 8-15 minutes or until the top is nice and dark (but not burnt).
COOL. Remove it from the oven and transfer the loaf bread to a cooling rack. If you want extra crusty bread, you can open the oven (after it has been turned off) and allow the loaf to cool on the rack inside. This process, much like cooling a cheesecake, will allow leftover moisture inside to rise to the surface and evaporate. Give it a good 30 minutes before slicing into it!
Equipment needed for No-Knead Bread
The one special thing you will need for this recipe is a heavy enamel coated Dutch oven. If you don’t have one of these, you can try it in any heavy oven-safe pot with a lid you can find, but I’m telling you right now a heavy Dutch oven is a great investment. It’s a workhorse in the kitchen and you’ll get so much use out of it. It’s the perfect pot for braising Pot Roast, making dishes like my Oven Braised Chicken, Honey Balsamic Drumsticks, cooking soups on the stovetop and more.
There’s no need to spend over $300 on a Le Creuset (I mean, unless you want to?) You can order a Lodge brand for $60 and free Prime shipping. Amazon Basics actually makes one as well now for just over $40. I ordered one to compare and I’ve only used mine once but it seems like a great option. I did notice my Amazon pot said oven safe to 400 (whereas the lodge is safe up to 500 and this particular recipe cooks at 450, just FYI) They both come in a rainbow of gorgeous colors. When recipes refer to cooking in a “Dutch Oven” this is what they’re talking about. Click here to grab a Lodge Brand, and Here to check out Amazon’s brand!
HOW TO MAKE HOMEMADE ARTISAN BAKERY STYLE BREAD IN 5 STEPS
- In a large bowl, mix the dry ingredients together. Add the water to the dry ingredients. The dough will seem very dry and shaggy and it will be sticky. Don't worry, this is normal and the dough with work out. Just insure the dough is mixed throughly.
- Let it rise at room temperature for at least 8 hours. Cover the dough and let it rise at room temperature until doubled in size. This dough is best when allowed to rise for 18-24 hrs. It can be left in the refrigerator for up to three days, the longer you leave this dough, the better it tastes. The cold air helps to slow the fermentation process and adds so much flavour and texture.
- Preheat oven to 475 C. Place your dutch oven or crock into the oven while it warms to temperature.
- Remove dough on to a WELL FLOURED cutting board. Fold the dough into itself and shape into your desired shape. You can even separate it into two loaves, it can be shaped into a round loaf or two longer loaves. Let rise again for 30 minutes
- Score the top of the dough with a very sharp knife. Sprinkle course salt on top for taste.
- OPTIONAL - Add corn meal to the base of your dutch oven, crock or pan.
- Place dough in warm crock with the lid on and place in the oven. The extremely hot air will immediately set the crust so the bread rises up instead of spreading all over.
- Bake for 30 minutes with lid on. Remove lid and bake for another 5-10 minutes until crust is golden brown. If you are making two smaller loaves, only bake for 20 minutes, then check to see if it is too desired colour.
- Remove from the oven and take the loaf out of the pan. Let cool for 15 minutes before serving.
- Serve and Enjoy! This bread is best when consumed on the first day. It also makes the most amazing grilled cheese sandwiches when it is a day old.
Active Yeast variation
If you only have active yeast there is a slight variation to take, but the results are the same!
Add the 1.5 cups of warm water to a bowl.
Pour in 3/4 tsp. active yeast to the water.
Next add 1/2 tsp. white sugar to the bowl. The yeast needs the sugar to "eat and grow."
Let the yeast water sit for approximately 15 minutes. Give the yeast mixture a gentle stir and then add to the flour and salt and continue recipe as directed above.
In a rush? Britt has a proofer on her oven so she made the bread dough with active yeast. Placed a lightly damp linen towel on top of dough and placed it in the oven on the proofer setting for 3 hours. The bread baked up perfectly!.
If you make this easy, yummy artisan bread, make sure to let us know your thoughts below and tag us in your photos on social media! It really is the easiest bread to make!
FAQs & Expert Tips For No Knead Bread
Yes! I’ve often left the dough out for a full 24 hours with no changes to the resulting bread whatsoever. I wouldn’t leave it longer than 24 hours.
To prevent your bread from sticking to the pan, make sure you pan is hot enough before adding the dough. If the pan is very hot at the bottom, you bread will instantly begin to cook, letting it rise smoothly. To prevent your bread from sticking, you could sprinkle some cornmeal on the bottom of the pot, or even use some parchment paper.
Usually your bread will be chewy when there isn’t enough gluten formation or you’re using a low-protein flour. Make sure you let your bread dough rest for at least 12 hours to give it enough time for gluten formation.
Usually bread will be too dense when there is too much flour. Keep in mind this dough will be pretty sticky, do not add more flour than specified. Other factors that come into play are humidity and age of flour. Little yeast, long rise, sticky dough are keys to a good, light loaf. Also do not over mix the dough in the beginning, there really is no kneading required.
You can double it but you’ll need a bigger pot, such as a 5 or 6 quart Dutch oven. The baking time will also need to be adjusted. You will probably need to bake it for a total of 60 to 70 minutes, the first 30 minutes with the lid on. The bread will be done when the internal temperature is at around 200 F degrees.
Yes you can, the bread will still be crusty and delicious, it will just be a bit denser.
- If you want to make sure your bread doesn’t stick to the pot you can sprinkle some flour or cornmeal on the bottom of the pot. Also, as mentioned above you could use parchment paper.
- Do not refrigerate the dough as it rises, yes it will be safe on your counter for 18 hours.
- Want an easy way to know if your bread is done? Take the bread out of the Dutch oven, turn it upside down and give the bottom a firm thump with your thumb, or a knock and if it sounds hollow it’s done.
- The slow rise at room temperature is what gives no knead bread its power. I’ve been asked many times if it needs to sit around for that long and the answer is simply, yes! The yeast needs time to perform its magic.
No-Knead Artisan Bread
In a large bowl, combine flour, salt, and yeast. Add water and stir until a shaggy dough forms. Cover bowl with plastic wrap. Let dough rise at room temperature for 10 hours.
Preheat oven to 450ºF. Place Dutch oven without lid into oven for 30 minutes.
While Dutch oven heats, turn dough onto a well-floured surface and form into a ball with floured hands. Cover dough loosely with plastic and let rest for 30 minutes. With floured hands, place the dough into heated Dutch oven.
Cover Dutch oven and bake for 30 minutes. Remove cover and bake for 12 minutes more.