Easy Artisan Bread
Judy Hale @halejb
This is the basic recipe found in the book "Artisan Bread in 5 minutes a Day." I highly recommend reading the book (I found it at our library) for many variations! I sometimes place the dough in a bread pan (and omit the stone/tray & parchment paper) and use for sandwiches and toast. AWESOME. After you are comfortable with the basic recipe, experiment with herbs, seeds, etc. This is one of my friends and family's favorite recipes.
1In a large plastic tub with a lid (not air-tight), mix the water, salt and yeast.
2Add the flour.
3Stir with wooden spoon just until there are no dry pockets of flour. You may need to use your hands.
4Let stand, covered for 2 hours (up to 5 hours)
5At this point the dough is ready to either be used or to be refrigerated for up to a week.
6When ready to cook a loaf, cut off a grapefruit size ball of dough.
7Gently pull the sides out and under until the surface is smooth. The bottom will be messy, but that is okay.
8Place on sheet of parchment paper and let rest for 20 minutes. You may want to sprinkle corn meal on the parchment paper, but this is not necessary.
9After 20 minutes, preheat oven to 450 degrees. Also preheat in the oven a baking stone (or baking sheet) and an oven proof container for water (to be added later. I use a caste iron skillet)
10AFter the oven is preheated, slash the top of the bread about 3 times, approximately 1 inch deep. I sprinkle some oatmeal or parmesan cheese on top too to make "prettier" but this is completely optional.
11Quickly slide the bread and parchment paper on the preheated stone/tray. Add 1 cup of water to the hot container (this makes the crust crustier).
12Bake for 30-35 minutes.
13Cool on a wire rack (removing the parchment paper). If you can wait, it slices more easily after it has cooled.
14This makes about 3 loaves. The recipe can easily be doubled.