Family Farm

Family Farm

Monday, January 30, 2012

Easy Artisanal Yeast Bread

The quickest yeast bread you'll ever make. Warm, fresh, crusty on the outside and soft on the inside, delicious home made bread in just over an hour and for about $1.

5-6 cups all-purpose flour (you can substitute whole wheat flour for 1 or 2 cups)
2 tablespoons dry yeast (regular, NOT rapid rise, yeast)
2 tablespoons sugar
1 tablespoon salt
2 cups hot water (120° to 130°) Note: water temperature is critcial to proper yeast activation

1. Grease the Deep Covered Baker and the bowl that you'll let the bread rise in. Set aside.
2. Combine  4 cups of the flour, the yeast, sugar, and salt in a large mixing bowl. Add the hot water and three minutes with a mixer (or 100 stokes by hand).  Add the remaining flour (I've never needed to add more than 1 cup) until the dough is no longer sticky.  Knead* the dough for 8 minutes on a floured surface, adding flour as needed to prevent sticking.
3. Place the dough in the greased bowl and cover with a damp towel. Let rise 15 minutes.  Remove dough to floured surface, punch or fold down** (3 minutes should do it) and shape into a large loaf. Place the dough in deep covered  baker.

Cut a slit about 1/2 inch deep along the top of the loaf and several small slits on either side of the first slit. It will look a little like a branch with leaves when you are done.

4. Put the lid on the baker and place in a COLD oven. Turn oven to 400° and bake for 50 minutes. Remove from overn, uncover, gasp in amazement, remove loaf from baker to cool on a rack.

Cook's Tip: to slice bread set it on it's side and cut wth a serrated bread knife.  By cutting from the side you avoid crushing the flaky top crust.

Note: this recipe makes a VERY LARGE loaf (over 5 inches tall x 7 inches wide x 10 inches long). The Deep Covered Baker has a 3.1 QT capacity. If you use an alternate to the Deep Covered Baker please makes sure it's large enough for the recipe!

Need a little help? These videos help illustrate kneading and punching down the bread. Note that videos are referenced to illustrate techniques only, they are NOT part of the recipe.

* Kneading bread:

** Punching down bread: punching or folding down bread is an important technique for I prefer the gentler folding and rolling down process, but either will do.

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