Thursday, January 16, 2014

Update: Baking Artisan Bread

It has been six months or so since beginning my bread baking adventure, and I need to update my recipe! The recipe in my original post  is not that different, but I have made a few minor alterations and clarifications in the directions. The no-knead method is unbelievably quick and simple; I usually double the recipe and keep it in the fridge ready to bake as needed.

Master Recipe for Basic Boule Bread

(Boule is a fancy French word for round loaf.  Use this term when guests come over and your bread will decidedly improve in taste before a bite even reaches their mouth.)

3 cups warm liquid*
1 1/2 tablespoons yeast
1 1/2 tablespoons salt
3 heaping tablespoons honey
2 tablespoons butter (or bacon grease, because it's amazing in anything)
6 cups flour**


1. Mix ingredients. Dough should be wet and easily stirred, but not liquidy or hard enough to form a ball.

2.  Let rise until doubled, 2-5 hours.

3.  Put in fridge for up to 10 days. Flavor will improve over time, as the sitting time replicates a sourdough style bread. It is important to refrigerate the dough for at least a few hours before baking, as it will be very difficult to shape if the dough is warm.

4. When ready to bake, pull off a grapefruit sized chunk and dust with flour. Stretch the dough around the top of the ball to the bottom, making quarter turns as you go. You will end up with a smooth, uniform top and four bunched ends on the bottom. Shaping the loaf takes some practice and doesn't affect the end result too much, so don't stress if you don't get it right the first time!

5. Place on pizza stone and let the dough rest for 40 minutes. Preheat oven to 425.

6. Slash top of loaf with serrated knife. Bake for 30-40 minutes, until top is very brown. This recipe produces a very moist loaf, so the crust must be dark to ensure that it is baked all the way through.

7. Let cool on rack. Or consume immediately with ample amounts of butter. The latter is my preferred method.

* You can use all milk or water or a combination.
** I bake with all sprouted wheat or whole wheat. Add 1/2 cup flour if you are using white flour.

To Make a Seeded Loaf
There is nothing better than a loaf of crusty bread speckled with seedy goodness. When getting ready to bake my bread, I sprinkle my stone with a combination of flax seeds, sunflower seeds, sesame seeds, and poppy seeds (or any seeds I happen to have in my pantry). After shaping my loaf, I roll it in the seeds before letting it rest on the stone. I promise you, the result is rather delightful.

This recipe is loosely based on a no-knead bread recipe found in the book, Artisan Bread in Five Minutes a Day.  I found the basic boule recipe from this book posted on, as well, though I highly recommend getting the book.  There is a wealth of information in it, as well as yummy variations on no-knead recipes.

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