Today I am going to share with you an easy bread that can be made anytime you have a small 3 hour block of time. The best part is that 2 1/2 hours of that time is hands off. Have you been tempted to try making your own bread, but just weren’t sure? Then this is the loaf to try. I promise there will not be any poolish, levain, biga, starter or anything else complicated. And if those terms are foreign to you, no worries you don’t need them to make your own very delicious bread!
If you are a regular reader you may think: Hold on. Wait a second. Artisan Bread in Under 3 Hours. Haven’t you already done this?
Well, yes but with a
major minor difference. The flour.
People stop by The Well Floured Kitchen a lot looking to make bread. When I shared my Top Posts of 2013, Artisan Bread was Number 1. In fact the trend continues. Did you ever notice in my sidebar there is a section called Top Posts? Go ahead, look to the right. I betcha see the bread.
So why do it again? What happens if you want to make bread for someone who doesn’t like whole wheat, refuses to eat it, thinks you’re trying to poison them? What if that person lives in your house? Or maybe you are just new to whole wheat and not quite ready to tackle that loaf, which is a bit more temperamental. Maybe you just want a crusty loaf of white fluffy bread, darn it.
The Well Floured Kitchen is a no judgement zone 🙂
Is there any less value to a loaf of homemade bread made with unbleached white flour vs whole wheat? No. Guess what? You can pronounce all the ingredients. That’s a win in my book.
But I do have a bit of a secret. The recipe is essentially the same. Since white flour absorbs less water, I just hold back a bit and let the dough tell me. If you add the whole amount, it will still be okay, just a bit slacker and potentially challenging to shape. A wetter dough will give you a loaf with bigger holes.
If you want to see step by step mixing and shaping instructions please see the whole wheat artisan bread.
I also have a few new tricks for getting that golden crust everyone wants.
1. Spritz the oven with a bit of water as you put the bread in.* Alternatively place a pan filled with water on the lowest rack of the oven during baking.
2. For extra crunch, when the bread is done baking, shut the oven off and leave the door slightly ajar. Let the bread stay in the cooling oven for an additional 15-20 minutes.
*this may be a bit of common sense, but please be aware of exposed lightbulbs if you choose to spritz your oven with water. They will burst.