Monday, September 5, 2011

Easy Five Minute Artisan Bread

I never used to make anything with yeast in it... it just seemed too complicated with all these specific rules and stuff and sometimes it didn't work. 

Then my niece came to dinner and brought a couple loaves of this bread that she had made! It was so good, and all's she said was "it's that 5 minute recipe"... as if I knew all about it.  So I googled it... okay... looks pretty easy.  It was easy, and the bread comes out perfectly every time.  I've tried to simplify the instructions more so that there wouldn't be anything to scare you off from trying this out. It takes 5 minutes to whip up the dough, but of course, you will need more time for rising, chilling and baking.  But it IS so easy.

The recipe is also very versatile, I've made it with different flours, added fresh herbs, cheese, chilies and nuts.  Yum, yum, yum.  The recipe also makes enough bread for 4 1lb loaves, which is a nice little loaf perfect for dinner.  You can whip this up one day, and have it in the fridge, ready to make a fresh loaf of bread any time you want... even on a work night.

3 cups lukewarm water
1 1/2 Tbsp granulated yeast (2 packets)
1 1/2 Tbsp kosher salt or other coarse salt
6 1/2 cups flour, unsifted, unbleached, all-purpose

This is so easy... but if you want the complete long instructions click here!
The couple that came up with this are brilliant, and have a great book and website called ArtisanBreadInFive.

Add flour, yeast and salt to a bowl, stir in warm water.

Cover with a cloth, or piece of foil, and let rise on the counter for 2-3 hours.  It should double in size.
Put in the fridge with a loose cover*. Chilling it improves the texture, and it keeps for up to 2 weeks, but I really doubt it will last that long, because it is so yummy!

Baking your dough:

Reach in and cut off a chunk of dough about the size you want to bake.... I've baked 1lb loaves and 2lb loaves... its all good and the baking time doesn't even vary that much! Don't over think this, it's easy.

Sprinkle the dough (and your hands) with a little flour ... it's kinda sticky. Shape the dough into a free form round, or a loaf. Do it quickly, folding the bottom seams to the underneath, leaving a smooth top.  Let it sit for about another 45 minutes.  This is the 'second' rising but don't worry if you don't see much change. I put mine right on my silpat mat on top of some sprinkled cornmeal which gives it a crunch and keeps it from sticking.

Twenty minutes before baking, preheat the oven to 450°F.  Place an empty broiler tray for holding water on any other shelf that won't interfere with the rising bread.


Dust the top of the loaf liberally with flour, which will allow the slashing knife to pass without sticking. Slash a quarter inch deep cross, diagonal lines, or tic-tac-toe pattern on top using a serrated knife.

Put your loaf in the oven. Pour about 1 cup of hot water (from the tap) into the broiler tray and close the oven to trap the steam.

Bake for about 30 minutes, or until the crust is nicely browned and firm to the touch. I like to tap on it... it makes a nice tap, tap, tap hollow sound.  Let cool, or serve warm.

*The reason you want a loose cover is that the dough will pop a top off anyways.  Don't worry too much about it.  I just put foil on my kitchenaid mixing bowl and keep it like that in the fridge.

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  1. My husband and I have been making this for about 3 years now. We kept throwing out bread, or having an excess of crumbs because we never went through a whole loaf while it was still edible. Now we make a double batch and just pull out enough for the day or two and hardly waste any. It is awesome bread, and easy. I like Piper's spousal unit was not used to working with yeast dough and used to measure the temperature of the water, set the timer for the exact time, etc. You just don't need to do that. There is nothing scary about a little flour and yeast!

  2. This looks great! And super easy!!
    Two questions:
    1- when you say '1lb loaf' or '4lb loaf', ate your assuring the dough you break off? So it's actually the weight before cooking? I'm concerned with knowing how much to take off to bake the right size loaf.

    And 2- you say you've tried various flours. Have you done any gluten free??

    I look forward to your response. Thanks!!

    1. Hello!
      It makes enough for 4 loaves, which is about a four 1 lb. loaves. It weighs approx one pound when baked. I usually just "eye ball it" and take out a quarter of the dough to make one loaf for dinner. However, I have also made a whole batch at once and made it into smaller loaves, even rolls for burgers too.
      You can tell the bread is done when it looks brown and sounds a bit hollow when you tap on it with your fingernail.
      I hope this helps.... it's really hard to make a bad loaf, give it a try and let me know how it goes.

    2. About the gluten free flour... no, I have not tried it yet... but I need to. I think it may be challenging as gluten free flour doesn't have the same "Stretch" and may change it completely.

    3. I took a baseball size piece of dough, kneaded it briefly with flour, stretched it on the chopping board while my cast iron skillet heated up...lightly brushed with oil as I flipped each side a couple times...nice brown areas, gently puffed...use as naan or for pizza

    4. What a great idea! I love it. I'm certainly going to try that.

  3. Hi there, this is interesting! Can you tell me what the purpose is of the water in the tray? I bake my bread in a Dutch oven on wood fire, and don't think I can organise a separate tray for the water, but would love to try this bread.

    1. Hi, you know what? I'm not sure, but I think it has something to do with the steam adding "chewiness" to the bread. However, I DO think it would work the way you mention it in your dutch oven! I just bought one, I will give it a go too. I agree the tray sounds a little fiddley, but if you had the try to the oven, and then pour in the water by using a small pitcher, it's easy. I leave the tray in the oven after I remove the bread, and let it cool down, but usually there isn't too much water left. Good luck!

    2. The steam gives a thicker crust with more crunch .

  4. Hi there, this is interesting! Can you tell me what the purpose is of the tray with water. I bake my bread in a Dutch oven, and wouldn't know how to add the water...