Friday, May 6, 2011

Artisan Bread...

it really is true, that with just 5 minutes effort each day, you can have fresh baked bread to enjoy!

I've truly had my eyes opened 
with bread making these past few months.
While I have always made bread from scratch,  I have recently found a different technique that has fascinated me and I'm really enjoying it a lot.

December 2009... 
Tracy and I were on our weekly date enjoying reading magazines at Barnes and Noble. I really enjoy reading Mother Earth News as they always have such interesting articles for gardening, cooking/preserving food, raising farm animals, etc...  The cover of this magazine is what struck my eye
"Easy Crusty Bread in 5 minutes a Day!".  
I loved the article so much that I commented that I would love to own that magazine, but didn't want to pay the $4.99 price for just one article.  HOWEVER, I awoke to a pleasant surprise on Christmas morning to a sweet little package from my Sweetie and this magazine was part of the package.
I read the article over and over and drooled over the YUMMY looking bread in the photos.  However, since all of my bread recipes call for some kind of sweetener for the yeast proofing, whether it be honey or sugar,  
I had a hard time believing that the recipe in this magazine could really turn out and make yummy bread, since it only called for
water, yeast, kosher coarse salt and unbleached flour.  
So, my magazine sat.

Fast forward to March 2011...
wouldn't you know it, I came across the magazine in my cleaning and organizing spree and decided,
"What do I have to lose...if it doesn't turn out, I'm only out a little bit of flour, yeast and salt".  
LOVE this part of the article that states that baking bread at home saves hundreds every year and costs about .50 and 5 minutes a day!! 

Tracy's favorite kind of bread has always been some type of  "French boule" or "baguette" as he loves the chewy, crunchy crust, but moist crumb inside.  Every time we walk past the Artisan bread section in our local grocery store, he comments on how YUMMY it looks!
However, the price of $4 to $5 a loaf, usually makes us pass on purchasing any.
SO, one afternoon, I decided to venture out and try my hand at making Artisan Bread.   
I mixed all the ingredients together,  
put them in a gallon ice cream bucket that we had saved from a Young Men's activity that Tracy was in charge of,
let it sit at room temperature and then
put it in the fridge for a few days to let it age.

I had SUCH a happy family when we finally baked our first batch of bread and it was so yummy and amazing with it's chewy crust, moist inside and slightly tangy taste and I even let it sit out all night without wrapping it and it was still just as moist and yummy the next day.

This tastes every bit as good (if not better), than any boule or baguette you would purchase at a bakery and the cool thing is YOU have made this in your home!

AND, it really only take 5 minutes of preparation to make this bread.  One batch of ingredients will bake 3-4 loaves of bread, depending upon how much dough you pull off and it will keep up to 2 weeks in the refrigerator.  
I have been saving a little of the dough and adding to the next batch I make up and the more it ages the more delicious it becomes...  
kind of like sourdough bread.
We decided to venture out and grind up some of our wheat into flour and do a batch with 1/2 unbleached  flour and 1/2 whole wheat flour and it has proven to be a winner as well!  
Many delicious bowls of soup have been enjoyed with a slice of this wonderful artisan bread and
many simple lunches have been enjoyed with a slice of this bread made into an open-faced tuna sandwich.

The past 2 months, I have had my ice cream bucket in the fridge ready to pull out and able to make bread anytime we like  For those hectic days when you have to work a long day at work and you come home and feel overwhelmed with what you're going  to make for dinner, you can  break off a piece of the dough, shape it into a ball, put in on your baking stone that has been generously covered with corn meal and have this rising while you cook the main course... 
AND the best part of all, you don't have to really make any kind of a mess!

Artisan Bread
All you have to remember is....
3 cups hot tap water
1-1/2 Tbsp. coarse Kosher Salt
1-1/2 Tbsp. yeast
 6-1/2 cups unbleached flour (Or you can do 3 cups whole wheat flour and 3-1/2 cups unbleached flour)
Mix it all together, cover and let it sit at room temperature 2 hours and then refrigerate in a container with a lid. 
(after you get down to the last little bit of dough, scrape the sides of your container down and  start the cycle over again by mixing up another batch of ingredients, cover and let sit at room temperature 2 hours, put the container in the fridge and then you have more dough to keep enjoying)

SO easy to make...
just pull out the container of dough from the fridge,
pull off a grapefruit sized piece of dough,
coat in flour and tuck the ends under and form into a ball and place on a baking stone that has generously been coated with cornmeal.
Let rise for 30 minutes,
 put a METAL pan in the bottom of the oven  
heat oven to 450 degrees
before putting the bread in the oven
pour in one cup hot water in the pan as this will create steam that will create the hard/chewy crust.   
Cut 3 slits in the top of the bread with a sharp knife to let it expand during cooking and bake 35 minutes.
Let it cool on a wire rack.

Another bread WINNER at our house...
I hope it's a winner at your house as well.


Garden of Egan said...

That looks yummy!
I will be trying this.
I love artisan bread and have actually thought about doing it. You make it sound easy.

You are an amazing woman!

Hope you have a Happy Mother's Day.

Sondra said...

Two thumbs up.

Several weeks ago I made artisan bread with whole wheat. I liked it, but was the only one in the family. I've been meaning to make it with just white flour. I love how you used an ice cream container - very smart!

There is a youtube video showing them making the bread. That's where I got the directions and recipe when I made it - FYI. Just put Artisan Bread in 5 minutes and it should come up.

C Smith said...

Sounds so good. I too love this type of bread. I will definitely try this!

Connie said...

I just need to let you know how much I LOVE you! It is always a treat to come to your blog and find some amazing recipes, thoughts on life, organization ideas, mothering tips, and just an all around up-beat, optimistic attitude. It's a joy to visit!
This bread looks delicious. We had a RS activity where we learned to make whole wheat bread. One of the recipes we were given was for Artisan bread. The recipe looked so complicated that I didn't even try it! Yours looks like the best recipe for me! We love soup and this bread would be perfect with the soup.

I hope you have a wonderful Mother's Day!

Lesa said...

That is awesome! Thanks for sharing, I might just have to give it a try.

Garden of Egan said...

Kimmie, just so you know, I made the bread last night and am in the process of making another batch right now.

Doran & Jody said...

I think I better try this.
How long can it sit in the fridge?
Kosher salt and bleached flour? What if I use the plane Jane stuff?