Prep 14 hrs
Cook 20 mins
Prep time includes dough sitting and rising time, hands on time is about 10 minutes. When it comes to breadmaking, simplest can be best. this recipe has 4 ingredients (or 5 if you decide to use some whole wheat flour). I learned this in a breadmaking class, and have made it before for neighbors for Christmas. Many people are surprised that it is homemade... it's not difficult, it's just a matter of learning. Variations are listed in directions. If you would like to learn more about making great bread, I recommend Artisan Bread in 5 Minutes a Day, Amy's Bread, and The Bread Apprentice. Hope you enjoy this!
- 1 teaspoon instant yeast (dry yeast must be dissolved in water below) or 1 1⁄2 teaspoons dry yeast (dry yeast must be dissolved in water below)
- 2 1⁄4 cups warm water (~100 degrees, not so warm that it kills yeast)
- 6 -6 1⁄2 cups unbleached white flour (I sub about 2 cups whole wheat flour to make it healthier, but I find that more than 30-40% whole wh)
- 1 tablespoon salt (I use Real salt or sea salt)
- Mix and knead (I mix and knead in my Bosch for about 5 minutes).
- Cover and let rise 12 hours.
- Divide dough into 2 pieces.
- Shape and let rise 2-3 hours (spray plastic with Pam so it won't stick when you uncover).
- Preheat oven to 425 degrees for about 30 minutes if using a baking stone (using a stone will give the best results).
- Slice tops. If you are not confident in slicing tops, slice before rising -- or dust with flour and use a very sharp knife -- you don't want the whole thing to collapse (brushing with water also works).
- For ideal results allow to rise on a pizza peel dusted with flour and make a quick transfer to stone at baking time (or if that's a little scary, let it rise on parchment paper for an easier transfer).
- Bake at 425 degrees for about 20 minutes, with steam first 10 minutes (spray water in oven liberally about every 3 minutes or see instructions below). Round or boule shaped loaves will take ~ 30 minutes to bake.
- Best steaming method: put shallow pan on bottom rack and allow to preheat 10-15 minutes before baking bread. Pour 2 cups into pan so there will be steam throughout baking time.
- ASIAGO or PEPPER CHEDDAR: Add to basic recipe 1 cup grated or cubed Asiago or 1 cup grated or cubed Cheddar and 1 1/2 t black pepper.
- BLACK OLIVE AND SWEET RED PEPPER: After first rising, knead in one sweet red roasted red pepper, thinkly sliced, and 1 cup coarsely chopped black olives (delicious with Kalamata or other deli olives if you like them!). Shape into 3 round loaves and place on cookie sheets sprinkled with cornmeal. Let rise and bake.
- FRESH ROSEMARY BREAD WITH OLIVE OIL: Substitute q cup whole wheat flour for white flour, and add in 1/4 cup olive oil to dough. After kneading, knead in 1/3 Celsius fresh rosemary leaves, chopped. Let rise overnight, Shape into 2 or 3 boules (round loaves), let rise and bake. Brush warm loaves with olive oil. also good with 1 cup sunflower seeds.
- MULTIGRAIN: Soak together 1/2 cup oatmeal, 1/4 cup wheat kernels, 1/4 cup rolled barley or wheat, 1/4 cup sunflower seeds, 1 T millet, 2 T molasses, 1/2 c more water for 20 minutes. Combine with 4 3/4 c whole wheat flour, 1 1/2 cups water, and 2 tsp yeast. Knead into the basic bread.
- PIZZA CRUST: use 1/3 batch for a 14-16" round pizza, 1/2 batch for a rectangular pizza on a cookie sheet.
- RYE BREAD/RYE ONION BREAD: Stir 3/4 cup water into 1 2/3 cup ry flour, let sit at least an hour. For onion bread, add in 1/2 cup chopped onion. Mix and knead this in after the first rising. Shape, let rise, and bake.
- SEEDS, WHOLE WHEAT, AND FRUIT: Before mixing dough, combine in a small bowl 1 T flaxseed, 1 T millet, 1/2 c raisins, 1/2 c chopped dried apricots, and 1/2 c chopped pitted prunes. Add enough hot water to just cover. Mix dough, subbing whole wheat flour for hal the white flour. Knead till smooth, then knead in seed and fruit, rained, as well as 1/2 c sesame seeds and 2/3 c cooked wheat kernels. Let rise overnight. Shape into 2 disks, 2" thick. Score into 6 wedges each. Let rise until nearly doubled. Bake. Serve warm or cold, plain or with jam or cream cheese.
- WHOLE WHEAT AND BARLEY: Mix 4 3/4 c whole wheat flour with 1 1/2 cups water. Add 1/2 t year and 1 cup cooked barley to basic bread dough. Shape, rise, and bake. Great for sandwiches. May also add in 1 cup chopped walnuts.
Sorry, this really didn't work out well for me. I found this recipe to be poorly written and a lot of work for what I ended up with. I have made a lot of bread in my 60 years, so I could figure out what I needed to do, but a novice looking at the directions for this would most likely go in search of another recipe. More detailed step-by-step directions would help. My dough rose fine overnight, nice and high in the bowl, but when I shaped it into a round, and let it rise again on the baking sheet, it just spread out. So I ended up with more of a focaccia. The bread tasted fine, but would have liked a higher loaf. More flour, I guess. I made the rosemary variation. i will stick to the Sullivan St. Bakery method for artisan bread.
I followed the recipe exactly for the olive and sweet roasted red pepper variation. I used black greek olives, pretty much the same as kalamata.
We loved the bread. No problems whatsoever.
After the 12 hour rise I did kneed it only about 2-3 min with some bench flour. I shaped it into a round, let rise the additional 2-3 hours, then baked. I did use the steam method, put a pan of water on bottom shelf as directed. 20 minutes was not enough baking time, I baked mine for 30 min.
I loved both the taste and the creativity of this recipe. The texture was just perfect.
Thanks so much.
We enjoyed this very much. Moist, nice texture, crispy crust... And it fit into our schedule. Made half a batch in bread maker on dough setting, put in fridge, took out next morning, shaped, and let rise for about 3 hours. I reduced the salt by 1/3 rd. I used your cheese and black pepper variation. I reduced the black pepper by 1/3 rd. Next time I would add in roasted red pepper. B/c I split my batch the bake time was shorter, just saying so that others will consider baking less time. (I wanted smaller loaves for the two of us.). Thank you for posting, Tanya.