beginning second week of artisan bread baking and I am hooked!!!

mom's rye bread

So, a week into artisan bread baking and I am totally hooked! I have tried to allow the dough to chill overnight before I bake a loaf, as it is much easier to shape and it almost takes on a slight sourdough quality. I never could have imagined having fresh bread every single day with such little effort! I have been mixing up the 13 cup of flour batch, which yields 6 one pound loaves and intend to get my fridge organized enough that I can have several different types of doughs stored so I can bake different ones on different days.

I have also discovered that my oven doesn’t hold the steam as well as I would like so I have been spritzing the loaves with a water bottle every few minutes during the first 10 minutes of baking. Other than that, it truly takes less than 5 minutes to shape a loaf and then take it out to cool after it bakes. 5 minutes of hands-on time a day!

The website has so many great ideas, too, and more recipes. AND, they are coming out with their second book in October which looks like it includes some gluten free recipes. Tonight I plan to try the crusty hard dinner rolls. And I must buy a pizza peel when I get a chance.

I baked the rye recipe yesterday and it was fantastic. We had BLT’s last night with garden fresh tomatoes and this bread…it was awesome. Here is the recipe exactly as I baked it:

Pumpernickel Bread

2 cups lukewarm coffee
1 cup lukewarm water
1 1/2 TBS granulated yeast
1 1/2 TBS coarse salt
2 TBS molasses
1 1/2 TBS unsweetened cocoa powder
1 cup rye flour
5 1/2 cups white flour
whole caraway seeds
cornstarch wash (1 tsp. cornstarch dissolved in about 1/2 cup water)

Mix together first 8 ingredients in container and cover. Allow to sit on counter for 2 hours. At this point can be stored in fridge. Pull off grapefruit sized piece of dough and shape by hand. (instead of flouring hands, rinse with water so dough doesn’t stick to them.) Place on pizza peel sprinkled with cornmeal. Allow to rest uncovered for 1 hour. Preheat oven at 400 degrees with baking stone on top shelf and a pan in the bottom for water. Slash tops of loaves with knives and brush with cornstarch wash. Sprinkle with seeds. (Next time I will place a TBS or so in the dough itself, too.) Put loaves in oven. Pour 1 cup water into pan on lower shelf. Bake for 20-30 minutes. Allow to cool before cutting.

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  1. Robyn says

    I’ve also been baking my way through this book, and combining some of the techniques with the No-Knead Bread recipe (which uses a little less yeast and lets the dough sit at room temp overnight). One thing that No-Knead Bread does is bake the bread in a large covered pot, to trap in the steam that naturally arises from the wet dough … works a little better in my oven than the water-in-a-pan method. 🙂

  2. kim anderson says

    Yay for gluten free recipes! I’ll be looking for it. Bette Hagman also has a bread book that is gluten free.

    Glad you are having fun baking, Karen!

  3. KellyH says

    I just got this book via interlibrary loan. I can’t wait to try it out. As you probably do, we eat loaves of bread a week, and this would be great.


  4. says

    Kelly, let me know what you try and what turns out. The pumpernickel was incredible and I have kept the basic recipe in the fridge and baked from it most days.

  5. says

    I used a not-yet-finished batch of dough, added wheat flour and warm water and a little sugar (no extra yeast) to expand the batch. Mixed in cinnamon and raisins. Made a big, beautiful loaf of raisin bread this morning. Yumm! Making raisin bread for tomorrow morning, too. I like the English muffinish consistency and taste.

    Next batch — going to try a whole wheat, instead of half wheat/half white.

    This is very, very doable for me. Making regular bread isn’t too hard, but requires more mental energy. This week I haven’t baked every day (had looooooong days out of the home), but I’ve made several loaves and the kids love it. I’m still buying sandwich bread, but much less.

  6. admin says

    Over the weekend I bought my containers for dough in the fridge and am trying the whole wheat dough today. Will keep you posted…

  7. says

    I made the whole wheat version of the bread yesterday and it was great.

    I substituted 1/2 cup of whole wheat flour with 1/2 cup cracked wheat. Before I baked it I brushed it with an egg wash and sprinkled rolled oats on the top. It was not only delicious but beautiful.

    I also bought 6 containers and have them filled with three kinds of dough in my fridge. (I doubled each of the recipes and did the 6/3/3/13 formula.) Really handy.

  8. Kelly says

    Hi Karen!

    I made the first master recipe. It tasted good, but was way too wet I think. I couldn’t hardly scrape it off my hands. Where did you find dough buckets? I used a pyrex bowl with a plastic lid, maybe that was some of the problem. I think if I’m going to do this regularly, I ‘m going to need to get a peel. Otherwise I’m just mashing the dough up when I move it.

    Going to try the recipe again and see if adding a little more flour doesn’t help.


  9. says

    Hi Kelly,

    I found that all the breads work best if I put them in the fridge after the initial rise and shape the loaves and bake on the second day. I add about 1/8 cup of flour on the top of the dough, pull off enough for one loaf and shape it as they showed on the video.

    This also worked well with the cracked wheat/whole wheat version I did but I didn’t add flour to the rye version. Instead, I got my hands wet and that kept the dough from sticking. I did this prior to pulling off each dough ball. Worked great. I would hesitate to mix in any extra flour because I think the whole secret to this dough is the moisture content. I don’t think it would rise well in the fridge with more flour added.

    I bought some of those cheap plastic containers for leftovers at Wal-Mart. They come 3 to a pack for about $3.00 and I didn’t seal the lids when I stored them. Each one holds about one recipe of dough. Since I made double batches of all three kinds of bread, I had to make room in the fridge for all 6 containers, the hardest part of the whole deal. But it really was fun one night to place a basket of 3 different round loaves of bread on the table for supper. Eventually I will look for better containers but these work well for now and stack so nicely.

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