Picture Journey of Artisan Bread Making
Easy Homemade Artisan Bread
I love bread! Home made bread is the best.
I always cut corners when I cook. I rarely follow recipes exactly. I like to find an easier way.
The author of this book already did that for me! Right down to how to tell when the bread is done.
As I work my way through this book, the recipes will be increasingly difficult. Hopefully the author did her job correctly, as she promised she would do. If so, I will not have a problem transitioning from the easier breads, at the beginning of the book, to the more challenging varieties.
I can't wait!
Photo Credit: June Nash
200 Fast and Easy Artisan Breads is a Great Bread Book - It steps you through the bread making process
I found this book at a bookstore while on vacation. Once I saw it, I knew it was a perfect fit for me.
Buy this as a gift, or keep it for yourself!
Have fun baking your own bread.
Even better, enjoy the sensational taste of bread made with your own hands!
This is a bread book that steps you through the process.
Artisan bread is a no knead dough. Simple to make.
The book starts with a simple dough recipe. Has several variations of how to bake this dough, creating several different breads.
Once you have a chance to master the basics, the book progresses into more interesting doughs.
What I like about the basic bread recipe
In the bread book '200 Fast and Easy Artisan Breads'
- I can make the bread dough in a large mixing bowl, using only a wooden spoon to mix it up. Approximately 40 strokes and it is mixed.
- The ingredients are simple. Just flour, yeast, salt and water.
- The dough keeps up to 9 days in the refrigerator.
- The recipe makes enough dough for 4 small loaves or 2 large.
A high quality, hand-crafted bread containing no artificial ingredients or preservatives.
As defined by TheBakingPan.com
What's been cooking!
So far, I have made the baby boule (small round loaf), baguettes (pictured here), and a pizza. I took the recommended toppings in the book and modified it a bit, but it was the best pizza ever! And the bread is very tasty! 200 Fast and Easy Artisan Breads
Here are the various recipes I tested.
If you try this recipe and discover how easy it is to make your own bread, you may want to buy the book and discover the many variations of the basic recipe.
- 3 1/4 C. Flour
- 1 TBS instant or bread machine yeast
- 1/4 TBS salt
- 1 1/2 C. Luke warm water (about 105 deg F)
- 1/2 C. Cornmeal
- Making Dough
- Put flour, yeast and salt in mixing bowl. Mix, then add water and stir with wooden spoon for 40 strokes. You will know when you have mixed it enough because it will be a round sticky ball of dough and the flour from the bottom and sides will have been mixed in.
- Cover bowl with oil coated plastic wrap and let rise at room temp. (in a draft free place) for 2 hours. It will be nearly doubled and have a sponge like appearance. I let mine raise overnight and it turned out great!
- Use same day, or refrigerate for up to 9 days.
- Preparing and Baking Loaf of Bread
- With floured hands, place dough on floured surface. Form into ball.
- Dust with flour and work quickly tucking bread under to leave top with a smooth surface.
- Place bread dough onto a peel that has been coated with the cornmeal. Cover dough with greased plastic wrap and cover that with a tea towel and allow to raise around 40 minutes.
- 15 - 30 minutes before baking, place baking stone on middle shelf of a cold oven. Put an empty broiler pan on lower shelf. Preheat oven to 450 Deg F
- Make three slashes on top of boule using serrated knife.
- Slide loaf off of peel, onto hot baking stone after oven is up to temperature.
- Pour hot water into broiler pan. Bake 25-30 minutes. Meat thermometer will read 190 deg F. when bread is done.
I served this to guests, they couldn't get enough!
The pizza was disappearing before I could get my camera to take pictures!
Do try this! I used the recipe on page 52. I changed it up a bit.
I used tomato slices which I placed on the dough.
I also added fresh mushroom slices and chopped arugula, then I sprinkled on shredded mozzarella cheese.
What I did is just a variation on the recipe in the book. Use the ingredients you like.
I put one of the pizzas directly onto the baking stone, but it did not slide easily. The first one I baked (pictured here) was put on a cookie sheet. I then put the pizza, cookie sheet and all, onto the hot baking stone.
In the future, I will use the cookie sheet or pizza pan. It was easier and I could not tell the difference.
Baking pizza directly on the baking stone
To use a peel or not to use a peel? No longer a question with me. I bought a peel!
The book recommended a bakers peel, but said you could still use your 3 sided cutting board instead if you liked. Maybe if the cutting board was larger, but mine is small and the 1st loaf I set out to rise flowed over the edge! I laughed at the sight! Then I bough a peel. The peel I bought was a pizza peel. I am glad, because the second loaf I made, I allowed to rise overnight. Instead of rising up, it spread out. If I bought a smaller peel, it would have flowed off the edge again! ha ha!
Maybe if the cutting board was larger, but mine is small and the 1st loaf I set out to rise flowed over the edge!
Caramelized Onion and Asiago Cheese Rolls, page 51
OK, Page 51 is Caramelized Onion and Brie Rolls, but I used Asiago Cheese instead
They are FANTASTIC! Mmmm! The recipe makes 12 rolls, but I cut the dough in half and made only 6. I hope I can resist eating them all tonight. The first one I ate was hot out of the oven. The second was allowed to cool before I ate it. Let it cool! It is fantastic. I always thought that hot out of the oven would be better, but mmmmm! These are the best when allowed to cool to room temperature.
One of the things I like about this bread is that you can cook the amount that you need and allow the rest to keep in the refrigerator.
Comments on baking the rolls:
Before I started with the bread, I had to caramelize the onions. This is one of the main ingredients. The directions are in the book, page 304. I used the stove top method. I didn't know you could refrigerate the onions for up to one week, or freeze for up to 3 months! That is good to know!
I only had 3 large onions, so that is all I used. I didn't use all of them in the recipe, so maybe I can make this again soon using the left over onions! mmm!
I made the easy artisan whole grain dough earlier in the week (page 56). I had 3/4's of the dough left because I made a mini boule out of some of it. Of this 3/4, I used half. These recipes are very forgiving. I like that! I rolled out the dough, and then realized that it would yield 12 rolls! 12 rolls! What am I going to do with 12 rolls!?
So I cut the rolled out dough in half and made cinnamon rolls out of the second half. See what I mean about these recipes being forgiving? They lend themselves well to variations. I like to cook with what I have on hand and in the amount I will be able to eat.
All you have to do in this recipe is roll out the dough on a floured board into a 16 x 10 inch rectangle. MIne was 8 x 10 inches after cutting it in half. Then I used a meat cleaver to chop up my cheese into small cubes or slices. I spread the top of the dough, per the instructions with the onions, then topped it with the cheese. The recipe then has you roll it, in my case, because it was half a recipe, from the narrow edge. I then sliced them into 6 rolls, using my cleaver once again.
I put it on the cookie sheet that is coated with cornmeal, pressing down on top to give it to give it a nice shape.
Let it raise for 20 minutes and then I was going to turn on the oven to preheat. . . . . but my daughter called. . . . .
She wanted me to go out with her for a couple of hours. I though, why not!? I can't let a thing like cooking get in the way of a good time! Ha ha!
I left the dough set out covered with a tea cloth (BTW, that is a non terry cloth kitchen towel). When I got home, I preheated the oven and popped them in.
I think having the additional time to rise improved the consistency of these rolls. (The recipe said to let set for a total of 40 minutes). They came out very light.
As I said before, these are delicious! You have to try them and let me know what you think!
I used a meat cleaver to chop up my cheese into small cubes or slices
Caramelizing Onions, stove top method
I pressed down on top of the individual rolls to give them a nice shape
Bake until browned
My own variation on the original theme
The recipe for the cinnamon rolls didn't really come from the book. I just used the same method I used in the Caramelized Onion and Asiago Cheese Rolls. I substituted Cinnamon for the onions and Raisins for the cheese. Rolled them up and cut them the same way. Oh! I also added pecans. I love pecans!
The cinnamon mixture is a mixture of cinnamon and sugar. I like mine to be 1 part cinnamon to 4 parts sugar. This makes it very cinnamony. Just sprinkle the cinnamon onto the dough leaving a 1/2 inch edge of dough not coated.
I like to soak the raisins in hot water, or some hot apple cider, for a few minutes before adding them to the dough. This makes them taste moist and yummy. I used about a 1/2 cup of raisins. This coats the dough pretty thoroughly.
You can eat them plain, but for a special treat, try spreading chocolate frosting on top.
Sounds good doesn't it?
Place on cookie sheet and pop them into the oven!
Baking stones - To use, or not to use. . .
The book recommends using a baking stone. I happened to have one I purchased at a Pampered Chef Party.
I honestly like using the baking stone. I put the stone in the oven and then let it preheat along with the oven. If you don't do this, I hear that they may crack. So. . . do heat the stone up while you preheat your oven to avoid this happening.
You don't have to clean the stone after use, just wipe it up. If you have something stuck on it, you can just scrape it off with the plastic scrapper that comes with it.
I experienced this. I had a less than perfect transfer of the pizza to the stone. Cheese and tomatoes flew off the edge onto the stone. Ha ha! No problem! The cheese mostly came off when I removed the pizza and there was just a bit of burnt on food I had to scrape off.
A tasty bread can be made without the use of a baking stone. I used a cookie sheet and let it heat up in the oven, using it the same way that I would have used the stone. Don't let the fact that you do not have a stone stop you from baking.
There are plenty available.
Have ever baked with a baking stone? - Would you recommend it?
Have ever baked with a baking stone?
Equipment you might like to use when baking bread - I like to buy products made in USA when available
Making bread is an easy process. It doesn't require many specialized tools. A few items may make the process go easier.
Items such as:
- Baking Stone
- Bakers Peel
- Instant read thermometer, to test when bread is done
- Dough scraper
- Broiler pan. I am using a regular baking pan, but it is rusting. I think a broiler pan may be a better choice.
- Danish dough whisk
- Spray bottle for water
To put the bread dough onto the baking stone in the hot oven
This is the peel that I am using. I really like it. It is a comfortable weight, dishwasher safe (if you have a dishwasher large enough for it to fit! Ha ha!), eco friendly
It is made in the USA!
Biga - It took over 48 hours before it started to look like this
Biga is the starter used in place of yeast. Actually, biga is made with yeast, but only a quarter teaspoon. It takes longer to prepare and you need to use filtered or bottled spring water.
I didn't have any filtered or bottled water, only perrier. Perrier is carbonated spring water. I used that to make the biga. I used a fork to whisk the bubbles out of water first. The same way I used to do when I served Vernor's (Detroit's version of ginger ale) to my kids when they were young.
The recipe said to let it rise for 6 to 24 hours. I waited, and waited. . .
I didn't see the creamy and frothy consistency yet. It has been over 24 hours. So I started another batch with bottled distilled water.
It took 48 hours or more to get the correct consistency! That was with both batches. It didn't seem to matter if the biga was made with flat Perrier or with distilled water. I almost gave up! But I'm glad I didn't. Now I have an extra batch of biga in the refrigerator waiting for me to make my next loaf of bread. But that is a different story.
Easy Artisan Slow-Rise Dough
I used the recipe on page 148 to make the dough. The book says the dough is sticky and not as easy to divide. That is the understatement of the year! I had to pour it out of the bowl when I cut it in half to make my Slow-Rise Rustic French Boule. With enough flour added to the board and my hands I was able to form it into a boule.
This is a picuter of the slow rise dough before it was left to rise for 4 hours.
Slow-Rise Rustic French Boule
Slow Rise Dough
Making a slow bread is the next stage of the bread making process per this book. It is a little bit more complicated than the easy artisan bread we made so far. There is an additional step to making slow rise bread. That step is biga.
Unless otherwise noted, photos in this lens were taken by me, June Nash
Copy right under creative commons 3.0, some rights reserved
Hi! I love bread! I bought this book and knew it would get a lot of use. I am learning from it as I go.
Have you made bread? Have you used this book? What books have you used? Do you think this would be a good gift idea?
What breads in this book are you anxious to read about?
Whatever your thoughts, I hope you enjoy following my progress through this book and, hopefully, can learn something from my experiences.