Adventures In: Bread Making

As a part of our new healthy lifestyle I’ve been wanting to make homemade bread. I know bread isn’t the healthiest thing in the world but James and I love it. Therefore, I figured if we are going to have it, it should be without all that preservative crap you find in many store-bought breads. Plus I’ve always wanted to try making homemade bread so its a win-win!

For my birthday, my sister got me Artisan Bread in Five Minutes a Day. It’s kind of incredible how easy this recipe is to do and prepare for and there are so many ways to add to it and make all different kinds of bread. For this post I just made the Master Recipe which is the foundation on which the fancier breads (like baguette and ciabatta) can be made.

All it takes is:

Artisan Bread Recipe List

-3 Cups lukewarm water
-1 1/2 tbsp granulated yeast (2 packets)
-1 1/2 tbsp kosher or other coarse salt
-6 1/2 cups of unbleached flour

IMG_2619Yep, that is a plastic tub all right. That’s what you will use to mix and store your dough. You need a bin that has a lid but is not air tight. Don’t use screw-topped bottles or mason jars because they could explode.

1)Pour the lukewarm water (should be as warm as you would make a bottle to feed a baby) into container.

IMG_26202) Pour in 1 1/2 tbsp of salt

IMG_26243) And 1 1/1 tbsp of yeast

IMG_26294) Then you’ll add 6 1/2 cups of the unbleached flour. They say to use the “scoop-and-sweep” method which means you scoop up the flour, then sweep the top level with a knife or spatula. Don’t press down on the flour!

IMG_26405) Now that all your ingredients are in there, start mixing. Make sure you get all the flour that gets stuck on the sides. I will admit, its kind of awkward stirring in a square container…

IMG_26516) Once it’s all mixed, all you have to do is put the lid on and stick it in the fridge overnight or for at least 3 hours.

IMG_26807) Once you’re ready to bake, sprinkle the surface of your refrigerated dough with flour and pull up and cut off a 1 pound (or grapefruit size) chunk of dough. You can add flour to your hands to keep the dough from sticking to you.

Put the lid on the container and stick it back in the fridge. The dough will last you up to 2 weeks!

IMG_26888) Gently curve the dough into a rounded shape on top. It’s ok if the bottom looks like a bunch of mashed up ends. Place the ball of dough on your baking stone and let it sit on the counter for about 40 min.

IMG_26969) After 20 min, preheat oven to 450.

IMG_270110) When its almost time to put the dough in the oven, make a slash, scallop, or tic-tac-toe pattern on the top. IMG_270311) After the 40 min is up, slide the baking stone into the oven and let it bake for 30 min.

IMG_2709Here it is! It was so beautiful when I pulled it out of the oven, I wanted to kiss it. But I refrained. We ate this loaf for dinner that night and holy poo, it was delicious.

The best part is, I still have enough dough in my fridge to make us 3 more loaves! Woo-hoo!

Do you guys have any great bread recipes?

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