Rustic Artisan Bread

For me a loaf of good French bread is about as good as it gets. I could live on bread and in fact I think I did during high school. Living where I live, in Northern California, good French bread is everywhere so I am rather spoiled. The idea of making my own never really occurred to me because how could it possibly compare. That said, those times when you want fresh  bread on a Sunday for a party, well that is a problem. Also, I will only eat  bread the day it’s made, which can mean scrambling to the store the morning of a party or after a long day at work. This bread changed all that.

First, its about as easy as it gets, I am no bread maker and this bread comes out perfect every time. Second, it tastes wonderful, its exactly what I look for in a loaf of bread; crispy exterior with a wonderful chewy interior. And third, you can make whatever size loaf you want and you can always have dough in the fridge waiting for that bread need. Yes, bread need I know it sounds silly but for those of us who crave bread its really quite wonderful to know a fresh baguette or loaf is just an hour away.

No Knead Artisan Bread

Ingredients
  • 1-1/2 tablespoons granulated yeast (about 1-1/2 packets)
  • 1-1/2 tablespoons kosher salt
  • 6-1/2 cups unbleached flour, plus extra for dusting dough
  • Cornmeal
Instructions
1. In a large plastic resealable container, mix yeast and salt into 3 cups lukewarm (about 100 degrees) water. Using a large spoon, stir in flour, mixing until mixture is uniformly moist with no dry patches. Do not knead. Dough will be wet and loose enough to conform to shape of plastic container. Cover, but not with an airtight lid. I use my kitchen aid mixer with the dough hook and let it just start to come together. Then I finish it by hand in my plastic container.
2. Let dough rise at room temperature, until dough begins to flatten on top or collapse, at least 2 hours and up to 5 hours. (At this point, dough can be refrigerated up to 2 weeks; refrigerated dough is easier to work with than room-temperature dough, so the authors recommend that first-time bakers refrigerate dough overnight or at least 3 hours.)
3. When ready to bake, sprinkle cornmeal on a pizza peel (or I use my pizza stone) Place a broiler pan on bottom rack of oven. Place baking stone on middle rack and preheat oven to 450 degrees, preheating baking stone for at least 20 minutes.
4. Sprinkle a little flour on dough and on your hands. Pull dough up and, using a serrated knife, cut off a grapefruit-size piece (about 1 pound). Working for 30 to 60 seconds (and adding flour as needed to prevent dough from sticking to hands; most dusting flour will fall off, it’s not intended to be incorporated into dough), turn dough in hands, gently stretching surface of dough, rotating ball a quarter-turn as you go, creating a rounded top and a bunched bottom.
5. Place shaped dough on prepared pizza peel (or on parchment paper) and let rest, uncovered, for 40 minutes. Repeat with remaining dough or refrigerate it in lidded container. (Even one day’s storage improves flavor and texture of bread. Dough can also be frozen in 1-pound portions in airtight containers and defrosted overnight in refrigerator prior to baking day.) Dust dough with flour.
6. Using a serrated knife, slash top of dough in three parallel, 1/4-inch deep cuts (or in a tic-tac-toe pattern). Slide dough onto preheated baking stone with the parchment paper- I cook mine right on the paper. Pour 1 cup hot tap water into broiler pan and quickly close oven door to trap steam. Bake until crust is well-browned and firm to the touch, about 30 minutes. Remove from oven to a wire rack and cool completely. You can also cook your bread in a Dutch Oven (pot) and it will naturally steam and come out crispy.
Recipe Adapted from
My all-time favorite Blog post explaining this process in-depth can be found here:

 

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2 Comments Add yours

  1. ELaine says:

    What size container do you use to refrigerate the dough?

    1. Something large, 21 cup dry food container or king Arthur’s 6 qt dough rising bucket. Just be sure whatever you use you do not put the lid on all the way.

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