Artisan Bread Success

Artisan Bread

I know I just posted a bread recipe last week, but I am so excited about this that I had to post another one. I have been on a quest for quite some time to find the perfect artisan bread recipe. I have tried Artisan Bread in Five Minutes a Day with little success. I have also tried more complicated recipes, but they never seem quite right. The crusts aren’t crackly or crusty enough, and there are none of the wonderful holes you find in bread you get from the bakery. After researching my problems, I found out that the only way to get perfect bakery bread is to have a professional style oven with steam injectors built in. That was not going to happen, so I was resigned to the fact that my bread would just be kind of meh. Then I received a Dutch oven. I know this is not a new method for baking bread, but I could not believe the difference it made. A Dutch oven simulates a bakery oven by keeping the heat and moisture enclosed in the pot, which is what creates that great crust. I found a simple recipe, which took about 5 minutes to put together, and then it was just a matter of letting it rise and bake. If I had known it was this simple I would have gotten a Dutch oven a long time ago. Mine is from Cuisinart, but there are several other brands out there which would work just as well. I think we’ll be eating a lot of fresh bread this winter.

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Dutch Oven Artisan Bread

[recipe from Jim Lahey]

3 cups flour
1/4 teaspoon instant dry yeast
1 1/4 teaspoons salt
1 1/2 cups water

 In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, yeast, and salt. Add in the water. Using your hands, swirl all of the ingredients until it comes together to form a dough. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and let it sit in a warm, dry place for at least 12 hours (I did mine in the evening and baked the bread first thing in the morning). About a half hour before you are ready to bake, put the Dutch oven into the oven and turn it on to 500°F. Scrape the dough out onto a generously floured surface. Press it out just a bit with your hands. Pull the top third down to the center, then pull the bottom third up to the center. Do the same with the right and left halves of the dough. Turn the dough upside down so the seam is underneath. Take a large, clean dish towel and sprinkle flour on the center. Place the dough onto the floured towel, seam side down. Sprinkle flour over the top of the dough. Carefully remove the Dutch oven, open the lid and, using the towel, place the dough into it, seam side up (these will make the cracks in the crust. Cover the pot and put back into the oven. Bake for 30 minutes. Remove the lid and bake for another 10-15 minutes. Remove from the oven and let cool on a wire rack for at least 30 minutes. Watch a video of how to make this delicious bread here.

Artisan Bread

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Posted in Baked Goods
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