We include products that we think will be useful for our readers. If you buy through links on this page, we may earn a small commission. Here is our process.
With simple tips to improve your game, and no kneading required.
The sourdough craze may have subsided with the summer, but now that fall is back, the baking season is picking up speed again. If you want to learn how to bake bread but are feeling intimidated, now is the time to conquer your fears. And it really is a lot easier than you might think. These tips for easy artisan bread will have you feeling like a pro in no time. And you don’t need a bread maker or stand mixer. There is no kneading either.
It’s the perfect kitchen project when you have plenty of spare time to fill and are looking for comfort, although with many like-minded people you might be hard pressed to find space. flour or baking powder if you wait too long to stock up. If you find this to be the case, try contacting a local bakery for flour (or take a deep breath and try baking sourdough bread with the wild yeast in your kitchen).
Regardless of its super trendy status at the start of 2020, homemade bread is simply delicious and satisfying too. Plus, once you get the hang of it, it’ll save you money.
Crisp, artisan breads from local millers and bakers clearly reign supreme over pre-sliced sandwich bread from supermarkets. These hearty breads not only have more flavor and depth than those boring rectangular factory breads, they’re also much easier to digest without the extra yeasts, fats, and emulsifiers added in mass production. But up to $ 10 per bread, switching to local bread isn’t always affordable, even if it’s easy to find in stores. Surprisingly, making delicious homemade artisan bread isn’t just possible for the average home cook, it’s actually quite easy.
The saving grace for inexperienced bakers is that of Jeff Hertzberg and Zoe François “The new artisanal bread in five minutes a day. ” Their simple country bread recipe creates a large amount of moist dough that can be refrigerated, ready to portion and bake, for up to two weeks. Using their easy no-knead recipe and my side dish tips, anyone can perfect the art of artisan bread at home.
My favorite recipe (adapted from “The new artisanal bread in five minutes a day”:
1. In a large mixing bowl or food storage container with a lid (such as this) mix the water and yeast. (If you’re new to this ingredient, check out our beginner’s guide to baking with yeast.)
2. Pour in all the flour and salt all at once and stir with a wooden spoon or Danish dough whisk (I have one, and it’s super useful).
3. Briefly stir the mixture, until all the flour is incorporated. It will be a wet and rough paste.
4. Cover loosely with plastic wrap or a kitchen towel (or gently put the lid on your plastic container) so that the yeast gases can escape.
5. Let the dough rise at room temperature for about two hours to double in size. Don’t hit the bread dough or obsessively control it by lifting the lid, even if you are tempted.
6. You can now begin the process of baking your bread, but I recommend that you refrigerate it first. The dough is much easier to handle when cooled. The authors explain, “It’s meant to be refrigerated and used for two weeks, ready for you anytime. The flavor will deepen over time, developing the characteristics of the sourdough.
7. When you are ready to bake your refrigerated dough, take it out of the refrigerator and sprinkle flour on the surface to prevent your hands from sticking. Pull a one-pound ball of dough out of the container, which is about the size of a grapefruit. The dough should stretch and not break when you pull it, a sign of good gluten development. Return the rest of the dough to the refrigerator for later use.
8. Gently shape the dough into a ball by pulling and rotating the edges to create tension along the surface, like this.
9. Let the dough sit for at least an hour and up to 90 minutes. About 30 minutes after resting begins, preheat your oven to 450 ° F with a baking stone on the center rack and a metal griddle on the rack below. (No baking stone? See tip # 1 below.) It is quite normal for the dough to not rise much during this time.
10. Sprinkle the entire surface of the dough with a thin layer of flour. Mark the bread with ¼ inch slashes, which help shape the bread and allow gases to escape (see tip # 2 below).
11. Slide the bread into the oven on the preheated baking stone and add a cup of hot water to the drip pan, then close the oven door. As the bread bakes, the water evaporates to vapor, allowing the bread to develop a crisp and crisp exterior.
12. Bake for about 30 to 35 minutes, until the bread is dark brown (don’t be afraid of a dark crust, the more color, the more flavor) . Allow the bread to cool to room temperature before slicing, otherwise the crumb will become hard.
Now, a few more tips to help you on your bread mastery journey …
Everyone needs a staple Lodge cast iron stove, no excuses. I used my 10 inch pan to fry eggs and bacon, bake cakes, sear steaks, fry donuts, and of course bake bread. The reason this recipe calls for a baking stone is because it conducts heat evenly and will help your bread develop a nice crust – and a cast iron skillet does the job just as well! (Pan-fried pizza is also great, especially made with leftover sourdough.)
After shaping the bread on my counter, I put the dough in my lightly floured pan for the last resting period, then put the pan directly into the oven when it’s ready to bake. And if you don’t have a grill pan for the water, place a frying pan or other metal baking dish on the bottom shelf while the oven preheats and pour your water in instead. Remember to clean your stove thoroughly afterwards.
No stove? Instead, bake bread in your cast iron Dutch oven. You can line it with baking paper before putting the dough in the pot.
If you fancy a softer crust, you can even bake Crock Pot bread in a slow cooker (this lets you skip the second climb as well).
If you want to really impress, invest in a scoring blade. You can use a regular serrated knife to make simple cross cuts on your bread, but that’s boring. Using a small razor blade, you can create unique and intricate designs that will take your homemade bread to the next level.
Unfortunately, there is a huge difference between commercial bakery ovens and the unreliable ovens in most home kitchens. Your oven may pretend to be preheated, but you can’t be sure the temperature is really accurate. Avoid the mystery by buying a cheap one oven thermometer so that you can finally be sure that your creations will be well cooked. And see more common breadmaking mistakes that could trip you up.
Once you have a basic understanding of how yeast works and master your first batch of dough, challenge yourself by creating your own sourdough sourdough! Check out this easy guide for pointers. When you want to cook with it, simply replace the yeast in the recipe above with 1 1/2 cups of activated sourdough, then decrease both the water and the flour in the recipe by 3/4 cup. (And don’t forget, you can also bake with sourdough sourdough.)