Artisan Bread

In my Thrift Store Score post I mentioned the artisan bread recipe I’d been aching to try. I made a few batches that all turned out sort of “meh”. So I talked to Stephanie, who has been making the artisan bread for some time now and found out how to work home milled flour in. I spent a pretty penny on the grain mill after all (by “I” what I really mean is “David”), so I want to use it as much as I can.

With some tweaks in place between the recipes I’ve seen I finally found a decent middle ground for my elevation, oven, flour, dutch oven … you know, all those variables that can totally screw up a recipe.

It looks like a bit of a wreck…

The top of the loaf looks like a mess. I’ve still not perfected the handling of the dough because it is very moist. Very. Did I mention this is not the kind of dough you just turn out onto the counter with a little flour? No, this is the dough where you dump a cup of flour out on a cotton towel, let it rise, realize that liquid has seeped through the towel and your dusting flour has turned to goo, and then curse as you try and scrape the dough off the towel into the hot as hell dutch oven… And yet my family still eats it, tells me it’s good, and I have to make a loaf every other day. I guess I’m not doing as bad as I thought despite pictures on other blogs depicting dough than can be handled…

Artisan “No-Knead” or “Crusty” Bread
Adapted by Stephanie and Gingham Apron from Simply So Good and Frugal Living NW

26.5 ounces flour
~20 ounces unbleached white flour
~6.5 ounces whole wheat flour (home milled)
1 teaspoon yeast
2-3 teaspoons salt
24 ounces room temperature water

Edit: My last loaf I used all unbleached flour, cut the water down to 2.5 cups, and it was far less runny. I dropped 5 minutes off the “lid on” cook time and kept temperature the same. This loaf crackled for me! Now to master it with some home milled flour in there…

Mix dry ingredients in a bowl, then add water, and mix with a spatula until combined. Let sit for 12 hours, top will be bubbly – and resemble Swiss cheese.

Turn dough out onto a VERY well floured pastry cloth – or if you’re me, out onto a cotton cloth that has 1/2 cup or more of flour, and then right back into the bowl it came from (which really defeats the purpose, so I might as well just try skipping the second rise sometime). Allow to rise for another 2 hours or so.

After about 90 minutes through the second rise place dutch oven – lid and all – in your oven and heat to 425 degrees Fahrenheit.

Once your oven is heated remove the dutch oven and CAREFULLY “dump” dough in. It is very hot, do not burn yourself. At this point feel free to look into the pan and think “holy crap that’s a hot mess, literally!”. Put the lid back on and bake for 45-50 minutes. After the 45-50 minutes is up remove the lid and bake for 15 minutes longer until the top is nice and golden.

Take dutch oven out of the oven and remove the bread CAREFULLY and allow to cool. It may feel hard as a rock, but give it time. I’m impatient and I always think that hard as a rock = ruined, but after an hour or so the top will soften a bit and all is well.

It’s so ugly, only the person who made it could love it. 😉

It’s not the prettiest loaf of bread to ever grace the face of the internet, but I’ve avoided buying sliced bread for two weeks now!

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