While searching for bread recipes on Pinterest, I came across a couple of blog posts talking about “Artisan Bread (in Five Minutes)“, which is a recipe from the book Artisan Bread in Five Minutes a Day. I decided to try it out, although I should let you know ahead of time that the title is a little bit misleading.
It takes a couple of minute to mix everything together, but the good news is that there is no bread machine, and no kneading is required which means you can make this bread so long as you have a large bowl or tub, a spoon, and an oven to bake it in. First you mix all the ingredients, then you let the dough rest for two hours on the counter. After the initial two-hour resting period, the dough is ready to go into the oven, or it can be covered (with holes to let the gases escape) and placed in the refrigerator for up to two weeks.
The “five minutes” refers to the preparation time once the dough is made. From the refrigerator, you simply tear off a large chunk of dough, sprinkle it with a little bit of flour, form it into a ball, and slash it across the top. Once formed, the dough does need to rest for an additional 40 minutes before being placed in the oven. However the whole process is really simple, and the bread does come out nice and tasty.
I cut the recipe in half, since 6 1/2 cups of flour was quite a bit to use for a first-time attempt at the recipe. Below is the 1/2 batch recipe, which makes two small loaves of bread. For the full recipe, click here, or visit this page for full instructions with photographs.
Artisan Bread (1/2 size)
Makes two round loaves of bread.
Note: You will need the following items for baking:
- a baking stone or cookie sheet with parchment paper
- a metal broiler tray + 1 1/2 cups hot water
- 3/4 tbsp. active dry yeast
- 3/4 tbsp. coarse sea salt
- 1 1/2 cups warm water
- 3 1/4 cups unbleached, all-purpose flour (plus extra for dusting)
- In a large bowl, mix yeast, salt, and warm water. Add flour and stir to combine completely. Let the dough rise for at least 2 hours (maximum 5 hours), until it rises and collapses. At this point, you can bake it or prepare it for refrigeration.
- Cover dough, but make sure it is not airtight. Place in refrigerator. Leave it in overnight, or up to two weeks. Whenever you are ready to use it, sprinkle some flour on the surface and use a knife or kitchen shears to cut off a piece of the size you desire. For a 1-lb. loaf, cut off a grapefruit-sized piece of dough. Form the dough into a ball.
- Let the dough ball rest for at least 40 minutes, then slash the dough using a serrated knife.
- Preheat the oven to 450 degrees. Place the dough on a baking stone, or on a cookie sheet lined with parchment paper, and insert into the oven on the center rack. On the bottom rack, place the metal broiler tray filled with 1 1/2 cups of hot water.
- Bake for 30-35 minutes, until the crust becomes a deep brown color. If using parchment paper, you’ll want to remove it after 20 minutes to allow the bottom to crust to become crisp.
- Cool the loaf on a rack until it is room temperature.