Sunday, January 10, 2016

Artisan Bread

This chilling winter weather calls for some warm bread!!! Every so often, I like to make some bread to eat throughout the week, instead of eating the store bought sandwich bread. There's something about the depth and flavor behind the handmade loaf that makes it so much more appealing, despite the little bit of extra work.

This recipe is one of the simplest I've made! It has to sit for anywhere from 8-24 hours, but it's worth the wait! The best part is that you can forget about the bread that's proofing until you've got some time to bake it.

Artisan Bread (Makes 1 loaf)
3 cups All Purpose Flour
2 tsp Salt
1/2 tsp Active Dry Yeast
1 1/2 cups Warm Water

1. Combine water and yeast to activate the yeast. Allow the yeast to become slightly bubbly.
2. Whisk together salt and flour in a medium sized bowl.
3. Create a well in the center of the flour, and add the water. Use a durable rubber spatula or a bowl scraper to combine the ingredient.
4. Mix gently until the flour is just incorporated. You do not need to knead the dough; be careful not to overmix.
5. Cover the bowl well with plastic, and allow it to rest at room temperature for 8-24 hours. This allows the yeast to proof. You will see bubbles on the surface of the dough when it is ready.
6. When the dough is ready, preheat your oven to 450 degrees F. Place a loaf pan into the oven to heat with it.
7. When the oven has preheated, turn the dough over onto a very well floured surface.
8. Lightly dust the top of the dough with flour, and tuck the sides of the dough in slightly.
9. Use your hands or a bowl scraper to fold the top of the dough to the middle, and then repeat the process to fold the dough in half.
10. Use your thumbs to seal the bottom of the loaf, then, carefully place the loaf into the hot pan.
11. Use a tented piece of tin foil to cover the bread. Bake the bread for about 30 minutes, until the bread had risen in the pan and the top is very lightly browned.
12. Remove the bread from the loaf pan, and then place it back in the oven for an additional 15 minutes, until it has a great crusty brown exterior.
13. Allow the bread to cool prior to slicing.

You can slice this bread into thin slices using a serrated knife. Once it is cool, you can place it into a plastic bag to store in the fridge or freezer if you don't plan to eat it immediately. I love this bread with some avocado with a light sprinkle of salt and pepper, or with a nice spread of butter and a sprinkle of flake sea salt!

What's your favorite way to eat toast?

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