Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Artisan Bread - OH MY WORD.

Let's all just stop and have a moment of silence for the 5 pounds you will gain from just reading this post. I have come across a new bread phenomenon from my friend Aundrea, who has an uncanny way of making everything she touches ultra cool and fabulous. She introduced me to Artisan Bread in Five Minutes a Day and I'm hooked.

In a nutshell, you make a massive batch of dough that can live in your refrigerator for two weeks. Whenever you get a hankering for fresh baked bread, grab a blob of it from the massive dough ball and plop it on a baking sheet or stone and then into the oven. In 30 minutes you have a house that smells like a bakery and a magical loaf of love that you can't stop eating. It's DELICIOUS and I baked my first batch last night. The great thing is, I used a few simple ingredients and a big bowl and wooden spoon. No fancy schmancy techniques are "kneaded" as no kneading is required! I should relabel this 'Bread Baking for Dummies' as it's incredibly easy.

Here's a picture of my ingredients:

I combine them all together and stir, and while I'm stirring, I envision myself owning the hipest bakery in town because I'm convinced this is going to revolutionize bread baking as I know it. As I'm designing the interior of my bakery and perhaps a stand at the Farmer's Market, I look down and realize I'm done. The ingredients have been stirred and I formed them into a ball. That's all there is to it!

I put this bowl, covered, (with a slight opening to allow the gases to breath) in a draft free place (away from small children) and for me, this happy place is my oven that is NOT turned on. For 2-5 glorious hours of draft free silence, this dough glob rises. When you uncover your container, it will have expanded quite a bit and will now resemble this:

Now, this is the point where you're supposed to put it in your refrigerator overnight (or the next two weeks) and then pull it out in globs to bake your individual loaves, but I couldn't wait that long, so I baked a 1 pound loaf last night. In order to get the famous crusty exterior and soft interior of true Artisan Bread, a pan of water was placed in the oven while baking. It does something make sure you take this important step.

After 30 minutes, this brilliance emerges and your mouth is watering as you wait for it to cool. After slicing into it and slathering loads of butter on each piece, I served this with dinner. It was a HUGE hit and I am now 5 pounds heavier. I can't stop eating it. Today, I'm going to experiment making rolls with it for sandwiches.

Have a delicious day!


  1. That looks wonderful. And let me clarify...this was Doug's baby! Seriously, that is how he treated it. Standing by the oven waiting patiently while his bread turned golden brown. We used convection and it seemed to work well. Just baked for 25 instead of 30. I was thinking about doing small rolls as well. You can apparently freeze the dough as well. Just shape some loafs together and place in freezer. Glad you liked the bread so much.

  2. pouring the cup of water into the heated broiler pan creates steam, which makes the crust. I've also read that in addition to the water in the broiler pan (a glass pan will break), one can spray the sides of the oven for additional steam.

  3. So the magic is the crust from steam - gotcha! Well my pretty, I made two pans of rolls this afternoon and am thoroughly addicted. So glad you let me in on this nifty recipe.

  4. That looks awesome! I don't make bread at home because I like it crusty and have never been able to replicate the crust that La Brea has. I am definitely trying this!

  5. I have been dreaming about this bread since I saw this post!

  6. I found this video with the recipe for their wheat bread. It comes from their second book about healthy bread.