The Greatest Bread Erika Has Ever Tasted

Once this loaf was out of the oven it was hard to keep the girls away from it and after just one bite Erika proclaimed it was the best bread she had ever tasted. The recipe is from Artisan Bread In Five Minutes A Day. The title won me over when I saw it at the library last week and it really was easy and fast. For the full recipe, check out the book because it goes on for six pages or so with lots of details. I will give the abridged version here.

Boule (Artisan Free Form Loaf)
Makes four 1 pound loaves and is easily doubled or halved

3 cups of lukewarm water (about 100 degrees, or slightly warmer than body temperature)
1 1/2 tablespoons yeast (or 1 1/2 packets)
1 1/2 tablespoons course kosher salt or 3/4 tablespoon table salt
6 1/2 cups unsifted, unbleached, all purpose white flour
handful of cornmeal

1. Mix warm water and yeast in a large bowl that has a lid (not airtight). I used a 3 quart glass Pyrex bowl with a lid.

2. Mix in all the flour at once. The recommended way to measure it out is to scoop it up by the cup full and use a knife to level the top. Mix with a wooden spoon, mixer, or by hand until there are no dry areas. You don't need to knead! The dough will be spongy and wet-- you want that.

3. Cover with a lid and let it rise for about two hours and then refrigerate at least three hours, preferably overnight.

4. When you're ready to bake (I waited until the next day), sprinkle some flour on the entire dough mass which is still in the bowl and use a serrated knife or scissors to cut off a grapefruit size chunk of dough.

5. Dust the chunk of dough with some flour and pull the top around to the bottom from all sides until you have a nice ball. This should take less than a minute. The directions in the book made this step seem kind of complicated, but their website shows just easy it is here.

6. Liberally dust a wooden cutting board (the book recommends a pizza peel) and place the dough ball on the boards and let it sit, uncovered, for 40 minutes.

7. 20 minutes before baking, preheat oven to 450 degrees and place a baking stone or upside down cookie sheet on the middle rack in the oven. Place another pan somewhere else in the oven where it won't get in the way of the bread.

8. Before placing in oven, dust the top of the bread with flour and use a serrated knife to slash the bread about 1/4 inches deep in whatever awesome design you wish.

9. Pop the loaf onto the hot cookie sheet and quickly pour 1 cup of water into the other pan (this creates steam, which makes for a very crunchy crust.

10. Cool completely on a wire rack and enjoy! Store leftover bread (I doubt there will be any) by placing it cut side down on a plate, uncovered.

My bread didn't turn out very pretty, but is still tasted great!

3 thoughts on “The Greatest Bread Erika Has Ever Tasted”

  1. lol. My bread from that book always comes out looking just like that! The European Peasant bread is my fave!

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