I learned to make bread in high school, but really had honed my skills over the past few years. I have written about bread, and shared a sandwich bread recipe: Homemade White Bread Recipe - Tastes Nothing Like Store Bought
But I'll be honest, I don't often make this white sandwich bread. I prefer the denser, artisan style bread you find in Europe, farmer's markets, and fancy restaurants. Rosemary ciabatta anyone? This recipe I have been making for years now.
Reading the book: Artisan Bread in 5 Minutes a Day. I learned a new and easy way to make bread, with a simple easy to remember recipe. When I first read their book, they touted their easy to remember method. "Just remember 6-3-3-13 and you'll impress your friends."
I scoffed, I won't remember that. But I did. I still do, and have used it to make homemade bread at other people's homes without looking up the recipe. Spice it how you like, use what you have already, and make amazing bread you won't want to share.
The Bread Recipe
6 cups of flour
3 tbsp salt
3 tbsp yeast
13 cups very-warm water
#1 Pre-heat the Bowl
A small step I don't skip. Particularly for metal and glass bowls, often times the bowl is cold. When you put your very warm water into a cold bowl, it's not very warm anymore. Yeast like the water very warm, so I first run the bowl under hot water to warm the bowl first. Then I move on to making the bread.
#2 Mix Yeast, Salt and Water (+ spices, seed, nuts)
Add the very warm water, yeast and salt to your stand mixer. You can mix my by hand, and I did for a number of years. Or you can use a stand mixer with the bread hooks.
This is also the time to add any spices, seeds, or nuts you want into the mixer. Adding them during the liquid start ensuring they are evenly mixed throughout the dough.
#3 Gradually add the Flour
Slowly, cup by cup, add the flour and grains you want. This can be a blend of flours. I often blend oatmeal, whole wheat and white flour together. Simply switch off between cups of different flours. No need to pre-mix the flours before you add them to the dough.
#4 Rise 1 Hour
In a warm place, let your dough rise for one hour. This hour to rise is the first rise, and can not be skipped. The dough should double in size during this time, but don't be concerned if it doesn't. This type of bread often experiences, "oven spring" in which it does most of it's rising in the oven.
#5 Bake or Store in Refrigerator
Bake at 425 for 30minutes or store in the refrigerator for a week or so.
If you store in the fridge:
When you are ready to bake, grab a hunk with floured hands and quickly form it into your loaf shape. Let it rise for a little bit on the cookie sheet while the oven is preheating. Bake at 425 for 30minutes.
The longer you store it int he fridge, the more it will ferment and become sour dough. Smell the dough each day until it is to your desired sour level, this may take some trail and error to determine how many days of fermentation you like the best. Just means you have to eat more bread!
#6 Enjoy Fresh Artisan Bread
Enjoy your fresh artisan bread with Cranberry-Strawberry Jam, or butter or just all by itself.
One thing I found was that you can vary the flour, add spices, nuts, and specialty grains. Some flours/grains absorb more or less water so you may have to tinker slightly but generally not by much. Consider the grains, beans, nuts, and flours you have.
There are many variations in their book: Artisan Bread in 5 Minutes a Day.
My favorite Variations:
- wheat flour
- cooked barley or quinoa
- garlic + rosemary
- Nuts + Seeds
- Sprouted grains (How to)
- Italian herbs, garlic, cinnamon, red chili flakes, etc
- Rye, almond flour, coconut flour, etc
- Honey, molasses
What are you favorite bread recipes? Share below.
Artisan Bread at Home: 4 loaves
- 6 cups of flour
- 3 tbsp salt
- 3 tbsp yeast
- 13 cups very-warm water
- Preheat the bowl to avoid cooling the water on contact. Run the bowl under hot water to bring it up to temperature.
- Using a stand mixer with bread hooks or by hand. Mix the water, salt, yeast. Add any spices, nuts or seed you would like at this time.
- Gradually, cup by cup, mix in the flour.
- Rise rise 1 hour in a warm place.
- Form the dough into a free-form loaf or put it in a floured loaf pan. Bake for 30 minutes at 425 or store in refrigerator for a week.