Of all the things I’ve cooked, making bread that turns out just as you’d imagined – with a burnished, crunchy crust & chewy interior, has to be the most rewarding. Easy Authentic Artisan Bread delivers on not only the texture & yeasty flavor but it’s simple to make – much simpler than you’d imagined.
Equipment you’ll need to make the bread: a small saucepan, measuring spoons, dry & wet cup measures, 5 quart cast iron Dutch oven, timer, oven, spatular, wooden spoon (optional), bendy pastry scraper, a large & medium bowl & a good serrated knife.
There’s merely five ingredients that make Easy Artisan Bread: purified water (don’t use tap), yeast, honey, flour & salt. (I also use a little baking spray for the bowl to prevent the dough sticking.) The water is warmed, yeast & honey are then added to a combined flour (preferably unbleached) & salt mixture, stirred then left to do its thing for 18 hours. I used both regular unbleached all-purpose flour & bread flour at different times I’ve made this & honestly, I couldn’t tell a difference. Try it with regular unbleached flour first, that’s probably what’s in your cupboard.
After 18 hours, the dough is then folded over on itself about six times using a spatular or a bendable pastry scraper like the one in the pic. You can get these from any kitchen supply store or online. A few folds & then the dough is left to rise again for two hours before carefully being escorted into a preheated Dutch oven & left to bake for an hour.
This recipe makes one loaf. Often I will make two, separately, but at the same time because it’s no more trouble to make two than one. That’s how easy this recipe is. Time wise, this bread takes almost 24 hours to from start to finish but with so little effort from you & great rewards. I’ve made lots of different artisan breads, most arriving at more or less the same result, but what I love about this particular recipe is the ease it takes to make. I found this particular recipe in this lovely cookery book: The Cottage Kitchen by Marte Marie Forsberg. There’s some beautiful images & rustic recipes in the book plus stories of the author’s adventures moving from her homeland, Norway to England.
Make this in a round or oval shaped cast iron Dutch oven. The round is lovely when you’ve guests over as look-what-I-created centerpiece. The oval shape is better for sandwiches as you’re greeted with more evenly sized slices. It is important to have a good serrated knife as that wonderfully crunchy crust is a little tricky to cut. I wrap portion sizes in plastic wrap & freeze. This bread has no preservatives unlike most factory made breads that have a lot of salt & additives to retain their freshness.
Try as I may, I can’t seem to give up bread – something a low carb diet demands. A slice of homemade bread a day or once in awhile isn’t going to be detrimental to your health (unless you’re allergic) or the reason why you can’t lose weight. Now eating the whole loaf might but people around the world live on bread & they’re not fat – the difference is they make it themselves. If you can rid your diet of processed, factory-made foods you will feel better. And if you’re a bread-lover, then baking a loaf of bread is a good place to start. When you turn out that first loaf on a wire rack & hear how crunchy it is, you’ll be so chuffed. And, after a little patience grasshopper, when it’s cooled & you can finally steal a slice, then you’ll understand the smugness that comes from baking good bread. Chat to you soon. Toodles, Lovoni xo
Easy Authentic Artisan Bread
- 3 2/3 cups all-purpose flour (preferably unbleached), plus extra for baking (plain flour) Weight is 18 oz/535g
- 1 teaspoon sea salt
- 2 cups plus 2 tablespoons purified water
- 1/2 teaspoon active dry yeast
- 1 1/2 tablespoons honey
- Whisk the flour & salt together in a medium bowl; make a well in the center. Grease a large bowl & set aside.
- Place the water in a small saucepan or microwavable jug & heat until lukewarm – about 85F. Don’t overheat the water or you’ll kill the yeast. Add the honey & yeast & stir until combined. Add to the flour mixture. Mix with a spatular or wooden spoon until a sticky dough forms & all the flour is incorporated. Place the dough into the greased bowl. Cover loosely with plastic wrap & a towel & put in a warm, draft-free spot for 18 hours (it’s between 68 & 74 degrees where I keep the bread for rising in the winter).
- After rising, use a bendy pastry scraper or spatular & fold the dough over on itself about 6 times. Cover & allow to rise for 2 hours.
- Place the Dutch oven, with lid, in the oven & preheat to 425F (220C). Leave in the oven for 20 minutes after the oven has come up to temperature. Very carefully remove it from the oven, add a small handful of flour to the bottom of the pan to lightly cover the base & with floured hands, lift the bread into the Dutch oven. Or turn the bowl upside down & let the loaf fall into the Dutch oven. Lightly flour the top. Here you can snip 5 to 7 patterns or v-shape into the top of the bread or use a blade to make a pattern or even just one slit. Replace the lid & bake in the oven for 35 minutes. Remove the lid & bake a further 30 minutes or until bread is burnished brown. Carefully remove from the oven & tip the Dutch oven up to remove the bread to a wire rack. The bread is wonderful served warm but don’t be tempted to slice into it hot – tempting as it may be. Any leftovers can be sliced & frozen up to 1 month. This also make wonderful toast.
Homemade 3-ingredient flatbread for something a little faster.