Posted by: Barbara Evanhoe | February 20, 2012

Artisan Bread

Although we try to eat low carb most of the time, both Keith and I share a fondness for moist, crusty bread fresh from the oven.

A recent internet quest unearthed an intriguing concept – mixing up a four-ingredient batch of bread dough that could be baked after mixing and raising, or kept in the refrigerator for up to two weeks, to be baked as needed.

Even though the recipe called for white bread flour, I had to try it….and if it worked, I could work on test batches made with heartier, healthier flours.

Here is a list of ingredients: 24 ounces warm water / 1 ½ teaspoons dried fast rising yeast / 2 ½ teaspoons sea salt / 1 ¾ lbs unbleached white bread flour ~ I just used a 2 lb. bag

Here’s what you have to do: Pour the warm water into a large mixing bowl. Add the yeast and then the salt, and mix well. Add all the flour at one time and mix thoroughly with a wooden spoon. Cover the dough with a tea towel and let it rise for two hours. At this point you can either store the dough in the fridge (cover loosely), or make some bread!

Pre-heat the oven to 450 degrees. I wanted a nice, round loaf, so I greased and floured a casserole dish to bake the bread in. I pulled a big chunk of dough from the batch in the bowl and kneaded it for about a minute, then let it rise another 30 minutes before slashing a cross into the top with a serrated knife.

Since I live in a camper, my oven is small and untrustworthy, so I do my baking in a big electric turkey roaster. The recipe called for placing a bowl of boiling water into the oven along with the bread, for a good, chewy texture. The bread was to bake 30 minutes until well risen, but my loaf had to bake about 45 minutes until it sounded hollow when thumped with my fingers. (This is a common issue with baking in a turkey roaster ~ I think it’s because the “oven” is so small, it doesn’t maintain the temperature very well).

Our loaf emerged from the oven with a thin, crispy crust and wonderful moist, chewy inside…we stuffed our faces with warm, buttered bread, fresh from the oven…..Yum!

After the first loaf turned out so well, I was excited to try baking with the dough that was stored in the fridge.

On my first attempt, I pulled half the remaining dough from the bowl and let it rise for 30 minutes before baking. The end result was a delicious, but very small loaf ~ so I decided to let the dough for the next loaf sit out overnight before baking.

This method worked better, but I still didn’t get the big loaf I was going for.

I am thinking that perhaps my refrigerator is too cold for the yeast to stay viable when the dough is stored, so on my next batch I will let the dough sit in a cool, but not refrigerated, place, in between baking.

I purchased ingredients for my next test batch the other day, so it should not be long before I can put my theory to the test!

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Responses

  1. Your bread looks LOVELY! You might also check out the Average Joe Artisan Bread Kit (breadkit.com). It comes with a pot and a book full of tips to make loaves rise to slightly greater heights.

    • The kit looks wonderful ~ thanks for the suggestion, and for reading the blog!

      • Truly the pleasure was all mine. I think what you are doing is super-cool!

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