Artisan Bread Week

No, no, there is no official Artisan Bread week (unless there is and wouldn’t it be cool if it were right now?). Inspired by our favorite local Bakery, (which we’re eating at as much as possible before we move) I thought I’d try my hand at some funky rustic breads.

On Monday night, I revisited a recipe that my aunt sent me years ago. And last night, I tried out another that a friend sent me.

What I love about both recipes is that they only have 4 ingredients and no kneading. Don’t get me wrong-I love the feel of bread dough in my hands and spending the time it takes to work it into a masterpiece. However, with a toddler and a house on the market I can appreciate a good hearty bread that isn’t so “needy.” Just put it together and leave it alone. If breads had a gender and a profession, these breads would be Cowboys. Cowboys that drive work trucks and where boots.

No Knead Bread #1 (via my aunt Mary, but in my own words)

Ingredients

3 Cups of All Purpose Flour

1/4 teaspoon instant yeast

1 1/4 teaspoons salt

1 5/8 Cups of water

Cornmeal or wheat bran as needed (for dusting in the end)

1. Combine the first 3 ingredients with a wooden spoon. Add the water and stir until it’s blended. This dough will be sticky and messy. Cover it with plastic wrap (I used a cotton towel) and set it aside for 12 hours (or 18 if you have time).  Make sure it’s in a room that is warm or room temp.

2. After the allotted time (I mixed mine up in the evening and let it rise all night and morning), lightly flour a work surface. I use this for all things bread and pastry:

Norpro Pastry Frame

Sprinkle the dough with a little bit of flour and fold it over on itself once or twice. Let it rest for about 15 minutes.

3. Use a little bit more flour to shape the dough into a ball. If you are using a pastry frame, like I do, place it seam side down back on the pastry frame and cover with a cotton towel. If you don’t have a pastry frame (which is really the most wonderful thing I have in my kitchen) you can use 2 cotton towels. Let it rise for 2 more hours. When it is ready, it will have doubled in size and won’t spring back when you touch it.

4. Pre-heat your oven to 450 degrees and, place a heavy covered pot (preferably cast iron, but you can use Pirex, enamel, or ceramic) in the oven while it’s heating. When the dough is ready, place it in the pot (I used a cast iron skillet), seam side up. If it looks messy, don’t worry, it will shape up on its own.  Cover the pot and bake it for 30 minutes. Remove the lid and bake it for another 15-30 minutes until it is golden  brown. Let it cool before you slice into it.

No Knead Bread #1

Last night, Matt wanted to make homemade pimento cheese, and we found that this recipe was especially yummy with our artisan bread:

Paula Deen’s Pimento Cheese

Home made Pimento Cheese. Mmmmmm.

The night before we added this family favorite to our bread:

Grilled Cucumber Sandwich

No Knead Bread #2

When my best friend, Kim heard I was making bread this week (heard because I was gloating to her about my mad skills-which aren’t really that mad) she sent along this recipe which she’s been making for 2 years or so (she’s a lot more accomplished than I in most things). So I made it last night. It’s easier to just re-post this blog, because it is very thorough and oh so helpful.

Artisan Bread in 5 Minutes

No Knead Bread #2

Both breads proved to be pretty dang (yeah, I live in the South, I say dang) delicious. And I will be making them both again. The first bread is a little more dense than the second and also more rustic. It took longer to rise, so you’ll need to plan this one out if you’re making it for friends. The second bread has a hint of sour dough in its flavor and is fluffier on the inside.  After its short rise, you can refrigerate the dough for up to 2 weeks-how great! Both were fun and EASY! Both look very pretty and have a great crust.

I can imagine if you want to really impress your friends for a Wine and Cheese fest, you may make these breads. They’ll probably think you bought them and what they won’t know (unless you showed them this blog) is that they are so much easier than your generic old dinner roll.

Bon Appetit and Enjoy!

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