Crusty Artisan Bread

Crusty Artisan Bread - Beth the BakerI got this recipe last week from the lovely, talented and very culinary Lorraine Wentz and tried it out!

Lorraine has now made it a couple of times – the second time she baked it with rosemary and oregano olive oil, and Gruyere and cheddar cheese on top and said it was amazing!

I made the 2 loaves as per the directions and brushed the tops with rosemary infused olive oil.  It was delicious and everyone enjoyed it.. .super easy and very few ingredients and made LOADS.  My “however” is that next time I will put in loaf pans as I like a “higher” loaf for sandwiches and toast, etc.  I know it ruins the “artisan” thing… but that’s my preference.  Very good and easy recipe though – doesn’t require much kneading and very tasty!  Thanks Lorraine!

Ingredients:

1 1/2 tablespoons instant yeast (I used “quick” yeast)
3 cups warm water (for this I actually used whey that I had from my cheese making… worked very well!)
1 tablespoon salt
6 1/2 cups unbleached, all-purpose flour, plus more for dusting dough

Crusty Artisan Bread dough - Beth the BakerIn a large bowl, dissolve yeast in warm water. Mix in salt and flour, stirring until there are no dry patches. The dough will be very soft and not like a typical bread dough. Cover with a kitchen towel and let rise in a warm place for 2 hours.

After rising, divide dough into two pieces and shape each into a round ball. Place each ball of dough on a piece of parchment paper, and let rest 40 minutes. (Lorraine let rise for an additional 40… I let it rise a wee bit more but had time constraints.. lol.)

During the second rise, preheat oven to 450. Place a baking stone or overturned baking sheet on the upper oven rack, and a broiler pan or metal cake pan on the lower shelf. Heat the baking stone at least 20 minutes before baking. ( I did not due the baking stone even though I have one.  I let it rise on paper on cookie sheet and put directly into oven once it was preheated so as not to disturb the rise)Crusty Artisan Bread buttered - Beth the Baker

When the dough is ready to bake, dust it with flour and cut three deep slashes across the top. Slide the dough on the parchment paper onto the baking stone using a pizza peel (or a thin cutting board). Pour a cup of water into the broiler pan/cake pan and shut the oven door quickly. Bake until golden brown, 24-28 minutes.

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