Jul 5, 2012

healthy artisan bread

This is one of my all-time favorite recipes.  It's healthy (no added fat, vegan, mainly whole wheat) and sooo delicious!  We enjoyed this as bread and made it as pizza crust--both turned out amazing.  And, the best part is that it's one of the Artisan Bread in Five Minutes a Day recipes, so it took less than 5 minutes.

Even when life gets crazy (you know those days...last week of classes, a little sick, so much planning to do and so little time), this bread will fit in your day.  But, it does take some time to rise, so you have to endure the light scent of yeast doing its thing for a while.  It's rough, I know, but someone's gotta do it.

This recipe will make you feel like you can conquer the (domestic) world, even as you're trying to keep everything else in life from falling apart at the seams.  It's the tastiest confidence-booster you'll make today.

**Note: This recipe makes enough dough for 4 loaves of bread.  The dough can keep well in the fridge for up to a couple weeks.

Healthy Artisan Bread
Recipe from Artisan Bread in Five Minutes a Day
Makes 4 loaves

  • 5 1/2 c whole wheat flour
  • 2 c all-purpose white flour
  • 1 1/2 tbsp yeast (I used 2 packets)
  • 1 tbsp salt
  • 1/4 c vital wheat gluten
  • 4 c water, lukewarm
  • corn meal
  • seeds for sprinkling, optional (I used sesame seeds, but any favorite seed would work)

Start by combining the flours, yeast, salt, and wheat gluten in a large lidded bowl (mine was a 4 qt Pyrex bowl).  Add the lukewarm water and mix everything until it's combined.  You don't knead this dough.  Just let it sit in the bowl, covered (not airtight), at room temperature for about 2 hours.  You want the wet dough to rise and collapse.  Once that happens, you can cover and refrigerate the dough until you're ready to use it.

When you're ready to bake the bread, cut off 1/4 (about 1 lb) of the dough.  Fold it under itself along the edges to form a nice smooth round of dough.  Place it on a cookie sheet that is dusted with corn meal (this will keep the bread from sticking to the sheet/pizza stone).  Allow the dough to rise for another 90 minutes.  (It will only need to rise for another 40 minutes if it hasn't been refrigerated yet.)

A half hour before baking (an hour or 10 minutes into the second rise, depending on whether you're using fresh or refrigerated dough), preheat the oven to 450 degrees.  While it's preheating, place a pizza stone in the oven on a middle rack.  Place an empty metal cake pan on a lower rack (do NOT use a glass one, it'll explode when you add the water!).

Right before baking, brush the loaf with water and sprinkle with seeds (optional).  Using a serrated knife, cut slashes into the bread that are about 1/4" deep.

Using a large pancake flipper/spatula, carefully and quickly move the bread onto the heated pizza stone.  If you don't have a stone, just put the cookie sheet in the oven.  Add 1 cup water to the cake pan that's below it.  This will create steam and help the bread bake better.

Bake the bread for about 30 minutes, until lightly brown.  Move the loaf to a wire rack and let it cool some before serving.

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