September 03, 2014

Artisan Bread - when I don't have time to make ciabatta

This is a repost from a couple years ago but I'm making a batch of it right now for dinner tonight and I thought I'd post it again just in case it got 'lost' in the history of An American Housewife.   I really wanted to make Ciabatta bread - which takes a couple days as you start the biga a day or two before and then make your dough, let it set, form it, let it rise, poke it and let it rise again and finally, bake it.

No time for that today!  Instead I love this bread as a close cousin... chewy, hard crust but a soft and yummy inside.  Note:  The last time I made this I got sloppy and lazy.  It's a very sticky, stretchy, wet dough.  I was rushing, decided to add some flour to make it more like a regular dough so I could work with it faster.  Mistake.  It's sticky. It's stretchy. Just use oil or water on your hands (or a tiny bit of flour) but don't try to add flour to make it easier to work with OR like a typical homemade bread dough.  That's not what this one is about.

I LOVE this recipe.  Only 4 main ingredients and you can mix it up with a wooden spoon in a bucket.  No kneading.  No fuss. 

Artisan Bread

1 ½ T yeast
1 ½ T salt
3 c water, lukewarm
6 ½ c flour
1 bucket with lid
Baking/Pizza Stone

Dump yeast, salt and water into a bucket or container.
Add flour.
Mix with a wooden spoon just until the flour is incorporated. No dry flour, no lumps.
Put the loose lid on. Not air tight.  Let set at room temperature about 2 hours.
Sprinkle bit of flour so your fingers don’t stick or use oil. Cut off grapefruit sized piece with serrated knife.
Work in your oiled/wet hands to make somewhat of a ball, pulling top layer to bottom.  Round and smooth.
Place on cornmeal sprinkled board.
Let set 40 minutes.
Sprinkle with flour, slash the loaf with a few slices.
Bake at 375 preheated oven with an empty pan in the bottom.
Slide on middle shelf baking stone.
Pour a cup of water in the hot empty pan and close door quickly to steam the bread.
Baked till top is golden brown.
Hard crust and moist, soft bread!

Mix the yeast, water and salt right in your container

An ooey gooey mess.  Perfect.

Lid on... but not air tight! Make sure your container is big enough to allow for rising.

Formed into rounds. Scoring the tops with a knife.

Fresh from the oven - let it cool.

I couldn't let mine cool. I cut into right away!  Crisp and crunchy crust - moist and chewy inside. PERFECT.

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