Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Artisan Bread

I love baking bread so when I found this recipe for Artisan bread I was intrigued. First off, knowing that the root of the word is 'art', I had to do some research and find out exactly what it is (and how you say it)...I know, I'm a bit of a nerd that way ;-)

So here goes: Artisan bread is best described by thinking about the person who makes the bread. Compare an artisan baker to other familiar craftspersons. They know how to combine their materials to build something strong and at the same time delicate or elegant. You can tell a true hand crafted bread from one that is just called artisan by looking at the ingredients. There shouldn't be anything in bread besides flour, water salt and yeast. If the bread is made with a sourdough there may not even be yeast in the ingredients. It wasn't necessary to add chemicals to bread for centuries and it still isn't. As for the pronunciation, it's - ar' te zen

Now for the recipe:

This recipe makes enough for four 1-pound loaves and can be stored in the refrigerator for up to 2 weeks, so you can have fresh bread any time you want. Bake it unadorned as a Crusty Boule, or roll ingredients into the refrigerated dough to create sweet and savory loaves.

3 1/2 cups lukewarm water
4 teaspoons active dry yeast
4 teaspoons coarse salt
7 1/4 cups (2 lb. 4 oz.; 1027.67 grams) unbleached all-purpose flour (measure using scoop and sweep method)

1. Combine water, yeast and salt in large bowl. With
spoon (or mixer with paddle attachment), stir in flour (dough will be wet).

2. Place dough in 5-quart lidded container; cover with lid (do not snap airtight). Let rise at room temperature 2 hours. Refrigerate overnight or up to 14 days.

Dough for 4 (1-lb.) loaves

Crusty Boule
(pronounced - bool, French for ball)

This classic European-style loaf has a crisp crust and hearty crumb. It’s perfect as an everyday bread to serve with soups and salads or just a slice of cheese.

1-lb. (grapefruit-size) portion of the Master Dough above.

1. Hold dough and dust top with flour; quickly shape into ball by stretching surface of dough around to bottom on all four sides, rotating dough a quarter turn as you go.

2. Place dough on pizza peel or baking sheet liberally sprinkled with cornmeal or lined with parchment paper; cover loosely with lightly floured plastic wrap. Let stand
in warm draft-free place 1 hour or until dough is slightly puffed and no longer chilled.

3. Thirty minutes before baking, place baking stone on center oven rack; place empty broiler pan on bottom oven rack. Heat oven to 450°F.

4. Dust loaf with flour. With serrated knife, make 2 or 3 (1/4-inch-deep) slashes in top of loaf. Slide loaf (with parchment paper, if using) onto baking stone. Immediately pour 1 cup hot water into broiler pan; quickly close oven door to trap steam.

5. Bake 30 minutes or until deep golden brown and loaf sounds hollow when tapped on bottom. Cool completely on wire rack.
1 (12-slice) loaf

Slice, spread with butter and enjoy...crunch!

Thanks to ''Cooking Club'' magazine for this wonderful recipe!