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Chicken Scratch Poultry

Friday, November 8, 2013

Crusty Artisan Bread with Melissa

Most of the time I really love living in a rural area.  Now when I say rural I mean we live about 15 miles from the closest grocery store or Wal-Mart.  I am very aware of the fact that many people and some of you readers out there may be living in more rural areas than us.  I guess one would call that living in the wilderness.  There are however (in my opinion) some draw backs to living in rural Southern Illinois.  Sometimes I would really love to run to cute little shops and restaurant's on a whim.  When we are on trips or just out in larger cities I enjoy seeking out bakeries.  My sister lives near Seattle and there the bakeries are plentiful.  When I visited her back in March I did my best to take in as much bakery delight as I could!  Since I do not live where quaint bakeries are often found I must fulfill my need for tasty baked goods by baking them myself.

Since my mother-in-law gave me a Kitchen Aide mixer a couple of years ago, I often experiment with making different breads.  In the cooler fall and winter months I make bread or rolls a few times a week.  I decided that since the weather is cooling off you all might be in the bread making mood and enjoy a new and very simple bread recipe to use wherever you are.

What will you need?

1 1/2 cups warm water
1 TBS of yeast
1 3/4 tsp of salt
3 cups flour + flour for kneading and preparing your work surface
Cast iron Dutch oven.

Lets make bread!

First put your warm water in your mixing bowl (I used my stand mixer but you could do this in a large bowl), then add yeast and let it dissolve for about 5 minutes.  After your yeast dissolves add 1 cup of flour and your salt, begin mixing the dough on a low speed.  Gently add in the rest of your flour until it is all mixed in and the dough looks pretty sticky.  Now cover the dough and let it sit at room temp for about 8 - 12 hours.  I will be honest and say there are many times that I rush my dough and do not let it set for this long.  The bread does have a nicer texture if it sets for 8-12 hours but still taste great if you rush it like me. 

This is the dough after it set for about 10 hours.

After the dough has sat, flour your hands and your work surface very well, then dump the dough out of the bowl.  The dough is going to be STICKY!  Gently knead in probably another 1/2 cup of flour, the dough will still seem like it won't hold it's shape and that is okay.

Just waiting to be baked!

  Now pre heat your oven to 400 degrees and place your greased Dutch oven in the oven to get it hot.  While your oven and pan are pre heating just let the already kneaded dough sit on the counter and rest.  When the oven and pan are ready pull hot pan out and scoop up your dough and place it in the Dutch oven and cover it with a lid.  Bake the bread covered for about 30 minutes and then take the lid off and bake for another 12-15 minutes or until it looks the color you like.  (If you have no Dutch oven pan then you could bake the bread on a baking sheet and place a pan of hot water beneath it in the oven while it bakes.  This helps achieve the crusty outside you get from baking in the Dutch oven.)
 So crusty!
I just took the bread out of the oven and took pictures of it, so it was too hot to slice.

I love this bread because it has a very crusty and tough outside, but the inside is perfectly soft!  It is perfect with any soup or it is great sliced thin and toasted in the morning.  Who needs quaint bakeries when you can make great bread yourself!?!?

I really hope that you enjoy this and maybe have a chance to try it out this weekend.  Leave us a comment and let us know if you do give it a try or if you have any bread making advice.  We LOVE hearing from our readers!


1 comment:

  1. Your Artesian bread post would be easier to read if you moved the top 3 adds up and then we could read all the directions without "Melissa's" entry covering the beginnings of some of the sentences. Maybe I am being picky, but I find that annoying. Great recipe and I am looking forward to trying it. Thank you for sharing.