In case you didn't know, homemade bread is one of the greatest things in the world. The smell alone is enough to make your heart warm up, but cutting into it and slathering on some butter that just melts and oozes right into the bread is AMAZING. I honestly feel sad for people who don't enjoy warm, fresh baked bread at least once every few weeks, if not every single week.
I know that homemade bread can be daunting. The yeast! Is the water too hot? Should I knead by hand? Is my mixer kneading it enough? How do I know when it's done? And then it gets eaten up so fast that it almost seems like all that hard work wasn't even worth it. Well, let me tell you, there is an easier way. I'm done my fair share of proofing yeast, hand-kneading for 10-15 minutes, witnessing dough that doesn’t rise, etc. . . It’s not exactly fun. Then, I saw the light. The no-knead, bread-so-easy-you’ll-freak light. I bought this book. And now, I am going to share with you the main recipe. I honestly make this bread about 1-2 times a week, every week. Sometimes more. Sure, it doesn’t exactly help that baby weight melt away, but it sure warms my soul!
I’m doing things a little crazy today. The thing about this bread recipe is that you use the same bowl over and over when you are mixing up the dough. You don’t even need to clean it. Because I already had some dough in the fridge, enough for one loaf, I made the bread, and then used the bowl to make up a new batch to share with you all. When you make your bread, the bowl will obviously be clean and you won’t need to do things like scrape down the sides and incorporate the extra into the new dough. I know, this all sounds crazy when you haven’t read the recipe yet. :)
EASY Artisan Bread
Recipe from Artisan Bread in Five Minutes a Day
You only need 4 ingredients for this bread. Yes, FOUR!
3 Cups warm Water. No need to take the temperature here. You can actually even use cool water. Seriously.
1 1/2 Tablespoons Active Dry Yeast
1 1/2 Tablespoons Salt, I use Sea Salt
6 1/2 Cups unbleached, all-purpose Flour
The flour isn't in the picture because I didn't feel like scooping 6 1/2 Cups out of my 25 lb bag for the picture. :)
Please excuse the skillet full of bacon fat in the background :)
Extra notes: You are probably wondering about why you don't clean the bowl in between uses. Have you heard of, or made, a sourdough starter? It's basically a mixture of flour and water that you let ferment for a while and use to make sourdough bread. Those extra scraps in the bowl actually act, somewhat, like a sourdough starter. They add a very mild sourdough taste to the bread that is SO delicious! Also, if you wait the entire 2 weeks before using up your dough, know that it probably won't rise as much and will be a denser bread. The sourdough taste might be a little stronger. Not that there is anything wrong with that. :D
You can also have a shallow pan on the bottom rack of your oven and when you put the bread into the oven, dump 1 cup of water into that pan and shut the oven door immediately. This creates a crispier crust. This bread is pretty crusty anyway, and my hubs thinks the softer the better, so I skip that step.