The various varieties of breads are best described by their names. Looking at the names of some of the breads you can easily guess their ingredients as well as origin. However, not even the best of the hardcore bread-lovers may know of a very simple, yet complicated type of bread that exists; the artisan bread.
The name of the bread is not enough to give us an idea of the ingredients used in this type of bread. We cannot even make out the place of origin of this bread. Yet, the answer is very simple. The artisan bread has been named in accordance with the baker who prepares this bread. An artisan is best described as person who makes crafts of original and superior quality.
This craftsperson is given quality training to prepare the best of the lot. Similarly, artisan bread is prepared by a baker who has been trained well and knows the minutest details of bread-making. The superior quality of the artisan bread lies in the mixing of the ingredients, the fermentation process of the dough and the ultimate baking of the dough.
Preparation Time: 2 hours
Cooking Time: 30 minutes
Lukewarm water – 3 cups
Granulated yeast (preferably fresh) – 1 ½ tablespoons
All-purpose flour, unbleached and unsifted – 6 ½ cups
Kosher salt/ coarse salt of superior quality – 1 ½ tablespoons
Method Of Preparation
1. Heat the water until it turns lukewarm. Using lukewarm water for kneading the dough will help the dough to rise in a couple of hours. Pour the heated water in a plastic container that is not air tight but has a lid. Mix yeast in the water. Add flour and salt to the yeast-water mixture. Don’t bother yourself with kneading the mixture at this point. Ensure that the quantity of flour used is absolutely perfect by using measuring cup to add the flour to water.
2. Mix all the ingredients using a hand-held blender or a wooden spoon. If you are mixing using your hands, then wet your hands before starting the mixing process. Don’t knead. Mix until the ingredients are well incorporated with each other and there aren’t any dry lumps of flour in the mixture. After the mixing gets over, you will have wet and loose dough in your hands. The dough would have taken the shape of the container.
3. Set aside the dough to let it rise. Put the lid on the container. The mixture will first rise and then collapse. You will know the dough is ready when the top layer of dough would have turned flat. The entire process will take close to two hours. Refrigerate the dough for further use. You will find that dough that has been refrigerated is easier to use because it doesn’t stick much and is more malleable.
4. To bake the dough, transfer the required quantity in a loaf tin and sprinkle some flour powder on top of the dough. Leave the dough for 40 minutes. Preheat the oven to 450 degrees F for 20 minutes. Place the loaf tin in the oven along with a tray of hot water. Bake for 30 minutes. Cool and cut the bread.
Photo Credit: Kosherbakingandpastry.com/2009_11_01_archive.html