Quick and Easy Homemade Artisan Bread

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Bread and red 2 …made with spelt flour

You’ve probably seen it, that cookbook that boasts a homemade loaf of artisan bread in just five minutes a day. If you are like me the first time you saw it you were skeptical. However, upon screening our library’s copy of the book and giving the whole thing a try, husbie and I were instantly hooked and soon purchased a copy of our own to add to our kitchen library.

We now refer to it regularly to make our own homemade bread.

In case you aren’t familiar with what I’m talking about: the authors developed a technique of having ready made dough in the fridge that can be pulled out and baked at a moment’s notice. Now the title might be a tad bit misleading: you won’t have a loaf of hot bread fresh from the oven in five minutes, but with a minimal amount of prep time for the dough (that doesn’t require kneading by they way), and with just a few minutes to prepare the loaf itself, you can, realistically speaking, have fresh bread every day with minimal effort.

What I really like about this method:

*”Bread Baking Day” does not drag into an all day thing. I like to use the standard recipe for the French “boule” that consists of just flour, yeast, salt, and water. It only takes me half an hour at the most to prepare the dough with little mess to clean up when I’m done.

*As I mentioned above, the recipe does not require kneading. I mix the dough with a wooden paddle and allow it to rise before storing it in a glass bowl in the fridge.

*I can usually have a loaf of fresh bread on the table within an hour. As long as I remember to always have a batch of dough in the fridge (ha), I can easily put together a loaf for breakfast, lunch, or dinner which makes for a great last minute menu option if I need one.

The one thing I didn’t like about this method:

*The recipe used white flour. My husband and I prefer spelt bread ever since we were introduced to it a few years ago. The high cost of it though was what led me to try baking my own in the first place. So shortly after we mastered the quick and easy artisan method, we decided to give it a try with spelt flour.

The results were acceptable. Granted, it doesn’t rise up as beautifully as a loaf used with white flour but if I use a little bit of Vital Wheat and Gluten Flour“>Vital Wheat Gluten to help it along, it will rise enough and I’m willing to overlook a less than perfect loaf of bread in order to provide us with something that we feel is a bit healthier.

As I mentioned a few weeks ago in this post, one of the challenges of moving out to the country was no longer having access to a natural foods store where I could buy spelt flour. After much deliberation, we decided to purchase our own grain mill and bucket of spelt berries.

My bucket of spelt and our grain mill

My bucket of spelt and our grain mill

This was the most recent “upgrade” to our little homestead in an effort to be more self-sufficient, but in just the small amount of time we’ve had it, I’ve really enjoyed it and it has been worth the expense. It is a relatively quiet machine and pretty easy to clean afterwards. I usually mill enough flour to make a batch of bread dough and enough for the freezer to use for other things such as these oatmeal cookies.

Whether or not you choose to go to all the trouble to mill your own wheat, I highly encourage taking the time to bake your own bread. Even if it is with conventional ingredients (such as white flour), it will still be prepared with minimal ingredients and you will have complete control of what goes into it and on your table.

Boule

3 c warm water; about 100 degrees
1 1/2 T granulated yeast
1 1/2 T kosher salt
6 1/2 c of spelt flour (or white, or wheat, or a combination of whatever you prefer)
6 1/2 T of Vital Wheat Gluten (use only if you are using the spelt flour; even then this is optional if you’d prefer not to)

To prepare the dough:

Add the yeast and salt to the water in a 5 quart bowl or plastic covered container. It is not necessary to dissolve.

Mix in the flour and Vital Wheat Gluten all at once. Stir with a wooden spoon, paddle, or your hands until the ingredients are well incorporated.

Loosely cover the bowl with the lid or plastic wrap and allow to rise at room temperature for two hours or until it begins to collapse (it will become flat on the top).

You can use the dough at this point but for best results refrigerate overnight. (I like to make my dough up the night before, I mix the dough while doing dinner dishes, let it rise, and then put it in the fridge before going to bed).

To bake:

Prepare a pizza peel by liberally sprinkling with cornmeal.

Remove from the bowl of dough a “wad” of about 1#. You can measure if you like, but I always just eyeball it. 1# is about the size of a grapefruit. Gently stretch and shape the dough working it into a smooth round ball, but don’t spend a lot of time or stress out trying to get it perfect. This is an artisan, free form loaf.

Allow the loaf to rest and rise on the pizza peel for about 40 minutes.

Twenty minutes before baking, preheat the oven to 450 with a baking stone placed on the middle rack. On the rack underneath the stone place an empty broiler tray for holding water.

Dust the top of the loaf liberally with a bit of flour, then using a sharp serrated knife, make a series of slashes across the top.

Slide the loaf onto the preheated baking stone and pour 1 cup of hot water into the waiting broiler tray. This creates a steam bath that will give the bread a nice, hard crust.

Bake for about 30 minutes or until the crust is browned and firm to the touch.

Remaining dough will keep in the fridge for up to two weeks.

Recipe makes about 4, 1# loaves.

~Adapted from Artisan Bread in Five Minutes a Day

Artisan bread from Black Fox Homestead

This recipe was posted as part of tomorrow’s Bread Bake Off with the Farm Chicks. Be sure to check out the blog for a series of great bread recipes from some very talented bakers.

Recommended Resources:

Paula’s Bread ~  This is where we purchased our grain mill, as well as our dehydrator.  Paula isn’t an affiliate,  she’s just been a very long time friend of ours and offers a great selection of kitchen supplies.

Here’s the book. Check it out. If you aren’t sure you want to purchase it then see if your local library has a copy.

 

Disclaimer

Find this post and others like it linked to: Homestead Barn Hop,Mix it up Monday, Homemade Mondays,On the Menu Monday, Backyard Farming Connection Hop, Cowgirl Up Wildcrafting Wednesday, Frugal Days Sustainable Ways, The Homeacre Hop,Tutorials Tips and Tidbits, Simple Lives Thursday, Foodie Friday, Full Plate Thursday, Farm Girl Blog Fest

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Comments

Quick and Easy Homemade Artisan Bread — 21 Comments

  1. I have the same Nutrimill! Love it!! I also make artisan bread and have mixed results with freshly ground flour. There’s a trick I haven’t quite mastered yet. I’m always adding more flour or putting in less water. I will have to try adding gluten. I’ve thought about that, just haven’t tried yet. Thanks!

    • Yeah, Michelle I meant to add that to the post but I was trying to keep it short(ish) and sweet. The very first time I made a loaf using the fresh milled spelt, it rose beautifully! I was so tickled. This last batch, the one I was doing for a bake-off that needed to be photographed, was very wet, and didn’t rise as nice. I had no idea that it could be so fickle. I guess like you said, I’ll just have to play with the flour/water to get the right consistency. :/

      • I, too, have been experimenting with the Artisan Bread in 5 Min/Day recipes with my own milled flours–in the same Nutrimill as yours. And, I’ve realized from experimentation that reducing the amount of water (or increasing the flour) is a must to get the same results. After my breadbaking yesterday and after reading your post today, I will reduce the water even more! I love this method of breadmaking–it’s just that my refrigerator space is limited. No problem in the winter–I just set my dough container out on the back porch. A plastic shoe box fits better in my refrigerator during the summer months.

        • Yes! I think I’ve learned that there needs to be some give and take with the water and flour depending on a lot of things. With the batch pictured for this post, I used the flour fresh out of the mill while it was still a bit warm. The dough was very runny and didn’t rise as nice (as you can see). When I put together another batch last week, I used leftover flour in the freezer. The texture of the dough was perfect and it rose beautifully. I think in future I won’t measure as much as just go by feel, texture. My refrigerator space is limited too. Fortunately when we moved recently, we decided on a whim to bring our other fridge with us. I’m so glad now that we did.

  2. I too make my bread in 5 minutes a day but I make sourdough. It’s brilliant! I feed Bertha, my starter and whack her straight back in the fridge so her growth is much slower and I fill my bread bucket probably 2-3 times a week (I make a half batch as I as yet only have a small container) and last night for dinner we had a chicken cacciatore inspired meal with bread I’d baked in 15 minutes. Sourdough usually takes a 7 hour rise to fully sour, if not even longer so the 5 minute method is fantastic!
    Grinding your own spelt flour too is MUCH healthier too as the flour can go rancid quite easily. I still currently use white flour but with my rye starter so it’s not quite rye flour. I have a thermomix in which I grind my grain and make my dough (I do give mine a good knead to mix it well which gives me the best dough after a few days in the fridge) which makes it all a lot easier. I highly recommend looking into sourdough. It’s so much bettter again than yeast bread and it makes the grains even healthier by having processed some of the phytic acid in the grains (they are antinutrients) and by making it with this method it’s as easy as can be. And you no longer need to buy yeast! :D

    • Yes, sourdough is something I have wanted to try for a long time. I tried making my own starter once and it was a no-go. Then a friend gave me some of hers but it still didn’t work. I do think it would be much better than using the yeast so I’m still determined to try it again and see if I can’t get it to work.

      • Get yourself some organic or biodynamic rye grain, some unchlorinated water (I use filtered water), a large bowl (plastic or glass, no metal) and a non-metal spoon. Put 1.5 cups of freshly ground rye flour and 1.5 cups of filtered water in your bowl and mix thoroughly. Cover with a muslin cloth or something like that and give it a stir every time you walk past. the cloth keeps out insects but allows the yeasts and beneficial bacteria in. Just stir it heaps for 5 days then on the 5th day add a cup of freshly ground flour and a cup of filtered water. You should get bubbles. next day, chuck half the mix and add another 1.5 cups of each. Repeat daily for a week and then your starter should be ready to go. If you don’t get bubbles then it hasn’t worked and all you can do is chuck it to the chooks or in the compost and start again. The starter recipe I followed also said to add a grape into the first stage to harvest the yeasts off the grape but most recipes I’ve seen don’t do this. Keep your starter at room temp too. Bertha, my starter now lives in the fridge as our temps are fluctuating too wildly at the moment so she’s in go slow mode. I feed her every 3-4 days to boost quantity, whenever I make my bread dough. I’m no expert by any means so I hope it works for you. YouTube and Dr Google are my starter friends. :)
        You inspired me yesterday too. I made 2 batches of dough as I’m making some for a friend but 1 made 1 with 1/2 freshly ground spelt as I had the grains here. It ground up finer than usual as I whizzed Thermy for longer so hoping for a nice soft bread. :)

          • You can use white or spelt or Whatever really. It from my experience and what I’ve heard from many many others, rye works best for starters. As you use 3 cups of the starter to 13 cups of flour for the no knead bread you get very little the in your bread loaves so for me it’s well well worth it. You could start off using rye then change it over to white. Spelt I think is a wee bit different but don’t quote me on that. But give it a try. And if at first it doesn’t work, try again. It took me 2 or 3 goes to get Bertha working well and it’s taken me months to get this recipe and get it working for us. :)

  3. I would so like to have a slice of your bread. Beautiful, I took a class last fall for making this bread and really enjoyed the class. I haven’t made the bread at home yet but will. It is so easy and so good………………..Enjoyed your post. Andi

  4. I really love baking my own bread. It is so good and I like knowing what is in the bread I’m eating. And isn’t it a wonderful feeling to see it baked and beautiful on your counter? :-)

  5. Your bread looks delicious, I can almost taste it! Hope you are having a great weekend and thank you so much for sharing your awesome recipe with Full Plate Thursday.
    Come Back Soon!
    Miz Helen

  6. Pingback: Traditional, Nourishing Ingredients for Holiday Baking | Black Fox Homestead

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