Monday, January 21, 2013

EASY! Artisan Bread

I don't know if I believe in signs or not, but I do think I got a couple of signs telling me to try to bake bread like this.  I pinned a recipe a couple of months ago.  Then I saw one posted on my local WAPF chapter's facebook page.  And finally I found an article in my recent copy of Mary Jane's Farm.  So the tri-fecta has spoken, I must try this technique.  So I drug out my grandmother's Club  dutch oven and tried it out.  I am immediately shocked and taken by this amazing bread that looks like I paid $6 for it at the local artisan bakery....and I did it!!!
This technique rocked my socks off!!  It met all of the criteria for an awesome recipe: it was easy, it only used one bowl that I had to wash, and it turned out right the first time...on a rainy day nonetheless!!  And then it turned out right the second time...which is a miracle for me and bread!!
All bread recipes seem to be the same, so I must say it really isn't the recipe, but the technique that has changed.  You always have flour, salt, sugar (or honey), and some rising agent.  I've done basic wheat, soaked wheat, sourdough and now this slow rising bread. 
I am convinced the difference here is in the technique.  You mix all of the ingredients together and then leave them overnight.  Because the bread rises slowly the gluten in the wheat is broken down.  This gives the dough an amazing elasticity.  Then you bake it in a covered dish so the steam keeps it moist while the high temperature gives the outside an amazing crust.

Tools needed:
A cast iron (or in my case cast aluminum**) pot with lid
A large bowl or mixer
*optional -- A grain mill (it really does make a difference)

5 1/2 cups of whole-wheat flour (freshly ground if possible)
1 cup of unbleached flour, plus more for dusting
1/2 teaspoon instant yeast (also called bread machine or rapid rise)
2 1/2 teaspoons of sea salt or Real Salt
1 Tablespoon of organic sugar
1 Tablespoon (or so) or organic cornmeal (if you are going to buy anything organic, let it be your corn, some statistics say that 100% of corn now is GMO in the US)
4 Tablespoons of whey (you could substitute yogurt of kefir)
3-4 cups of filtered water

Add all of the dry ingredients except cornmeal to a mixer.  You could do this by hand, it would be a great upper body workout!  Mix on low adding whey first and then water slowly.  Start with 3 cups, then slowly add enough to get a wet dough consistency.  You want the dough to be sticky and shaggy (like a dog's fur).  Make sure your dough has enough room in the bowl you are using to double (and then a little extra).  Cover the bowl and allow to sit over night 12-18 hours at room temperature.

In the morning, place your covered cast iron pot in the oven and preheat to 500 degrees.  While the oven preheating, dust your counter with unbleached flour.  Remove dough from the bowl and roll over itself a few times in the flour.  Forming a shape that is similar to your pot.  Cover it and let it rest until the oven finishes preheating.

When the oven is heated, remove the pot and sprinkle corn meal on the bottom.  Add the loaf, cover and bake for 30 minutes.  Remove cover and bake an additional 10 minutes.  
Cool on a rack and enjoy with lots of Grass-fed butter and a drizzle of local honey!

As you can tell from the picture, this is a very "wheat bread".  That's the way I like it, but you could easily adjust the flour/wheat flour ratio to fit your taste.

**You should not use aluminum pots to cook food.  I keep this particular pot because it was my grandmother's and I grew up with my mom using it.  Here is a great article from The Healthy Home Economist on why it is safe to still use aluminum pans for baking, as long as there is no metal to metal contact.

Love and Butter,


This post was entered at: Tasty Traditions, Wild Crafting Wednesday, Full Plate Thursday, Pennywise Platter Thursday, Simple Lives Thursday, Thank Your Body Thursday, Natural Living Link-Up, Meal Plan Monday, Family Table Tuesday, Natural Living Monday, Mix It Up Monday, Modesty Monday, Inspire Me Monday, Make It Yourself Monday, Better Moms Monday, Clever Chicks Monday, Homemade Mondays, Hearth and Soul Tuesday, Domestically Divine Tuesday, Titus 2sday, Fat Tuesday, Tasteful Tuesday, Teach Me Tuesday, Making a Home, Tuesday Greens, Whole Foods Wednesday, Encourage One Another, Simple Living Wednesday, Wellness Wednesday, Wise Woman Link Up, Show and Share Wednesday, Works for Me Wednesday, Hearts 4 Home Thursday, Proverbs 31 , Little House in the Suburbs
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  1. Hi Mishelle,
    Your Artisan Bread looks wonderful, I can almost taste it. Hope you have a great weekend and thanks for sharing your tasty recipe with Full Plate Thursday.
    Come Back Soon!
    Miz Helen

  2. Looks yummy! Thanks for sharing this on Wildcrafting Wednesday!

  3. This looks so good, will try soon. Thank you for sharing with the Clever Chicks Blog Hop this week; I hope you’ll join us again!

    Kathy Shea Mormino

    The Chicken Chick

  4. Your bread looks great and I love the fact you use your Grandma's pot..

  5. Oh man, that looks like a killer loaf of bread! Wish I wasn't gluten free, I miss those hearty breads. Thanks so much for sharing this tasty looking recipe on Wellness Wednesdays @

    1. We are newly grain-free, so I have a long line of friends eating my bread as I test the recipes. Thanks for hosting Wellness Wednesday.

  6. Looks lovely and delicious! I just started to make my own bread at home too. Thanks for sharing this on Tuesday Greens!

  7. I substituted all purpose gluten free flour, added 1 teaspoon xanthan gum and it turned out great!.
    Linda from Booneville, Ar

  8. The Cuisinart CBK-200 is a bread machine that can bake 1, 1.5 or 2lb loaves and it comes with 16 program cycles, of which the low-carb and gluten free are worthy of mention. bread machines