I betcha y’all thought that with Rob and I both working now, our freshly baked bread days were over.

Nope not even close.

I confess maybe we aren’t munching on slow-rise baguette every other night (thank-god because I would have never fit back into my suits) but we still haven’t bought a loaf of bread since I wrote about the “bread challenge” back in September. Its been a delicious journey from naan to tortillas to baguette to american sandwich bread.  I did worry that going back to work might put a little wrench in our plans…but luckily, I came across the most amazingly, delicious bread recipe on what I think is the best food blog out there: www.foodess.com

Now there is one problem with this recipe – its made us a little sluggish in our bread baking endeavours….its so good and so easy, that its hard to convince yourself to nurture a loaf that requires a little more care.

This recipe can be summarized as the following: Bowl. Ingredients. Stir. Fridge. Two Weeks. Oven. Fresh Bread. Yep – its that easy.
The longer the bread stays in your fridge (up to about two weeks), the more  it becomes more like a sourdough with larger air  holes. Its also pretty delicious after the initial rise.  Personally, I can’t tell you how it tastes after 2 weeks, as it never seems to make it past a few days at our house. Sunday evenings now, we make sure that we have a batch of gooey dough in the fridge ready to bake up for  sandwichs and snacks for the week.  Once the dough is in the fridge, the only planning needed is enough time to pre-heat the oven, and bring the bread up to room temperature.  Its less than 60 seconds to cut and shape the dough, and hey if your loaf isn’t perfectly round, its rustic artisinal bread!

Enjoy – and let me know what you think!

We’ve adapted this recipe just a little bit from foodess.com.  Her original recipe was adapted from  ”Artisan Bread in Five Minutes a Day,” by Jeff Hertzberg and Zoë François

Artisan Bread

    • 1 1/2 tablespoons yeast
    • 1 1/2 tablespoons sea salt
    • 3 cups  warm water
    • 6 1/2 cups unbleached, all-purpose flour, more for dusting dough (*you can replace about 1 to 1 1/2 cups of white flour with any whole grain flour with great results).
    • Cornmeal

1. In a large bowl, mix yeast and salt into 3 cups warm water. Add flour, and stir to combine completely. Cover and let dough rise in a warm place for at least two hours, until it rises and collapses (up to 5 hours – or even overnight won’t hurt it). After this initial rise the dough may be baked if you like.

2. Cover dough, but make sure it is not airtight as gases need to escape, then place it in the fridge for up to 2 weeks . Whenever  you feel like fresh bread, use a serrated knife to cut off an approximately grapefruit size/1 pound chunk of dough. Turn it in your hands, stretching the dough to form a smooth ball, with the bottom bunched underneath.

3. Dust a pizza peel or any flat surface with cornmeal or flour to prevent sticking (we place  the flour/cornmeal on a piece of parchment to allow for the easy transfer of the loaf) and allow the formed dough to rest in a warmish place for at least 40 minutes, but not more than 90.

4. If you have a baking stone, place it in the oven while the dough is coming to room temperature, and crank the oven to 500 to get the baking stone nice and hot.  If you don’t have a baking stone go get one (kidding – just use a regular baking sheet – but really we love our baking stone), simply preheat the oven to 450 degrees with a baking sheet overturned on a middle rack. If you are using a baking stone, once the oven comes up to temperature, decrease the oven to 450 degrees.  Once the bread has sat out  for 40 + minutes throw a dusting of flour on the loaf, and then slash it 2-4 times with a serrated knife – however you like, we often just do a simple cross -get creative.   Put 2 cups of water in a shallow pan and place on the top rack of the oven. Slide the loaf onto the baking stone, and if you have a spray bottle mist the dough with water, closing the oven door quickly to keep the steam inside.   Bake for 30 minutes, or until the crust is brown and the loaf sounds hollow when tapped.

5.  Let the bread cool on a wire rack – then dig in and enjoy.

Easy…wasn’t it 🙂

Happy Baking!