Have you ever wished you could bake a gorgeous loaf of artisan bread? The kind featured in your favorite foodie magazines with articles about quaint little bakeries nestled in the countryside who use wood-fired brick ovens to bake loaves worthy of being considered artistic masterpieces. The rustic loaves created by these bakeries evokes a nostalgia within us of a time when bread making was an art form and each loaf was carefully hand crafted using only the highest quality of ingredients.
In the fast paced world we live in today, the idea of taking the time to slow down and bake our own loaf of artisan bread at home is appealing. These thoughts, however, are quickly relinquished by an anxiety awakening within us of the amount of time and commitment that will need to be devoted to the task. With so many things we need to accomplish we believe it’s next to impossible to have the time to bake our own bread. It’s for this reason I’m sharing this recipe for fresh artisan bread that takes very little effort to create and doesn’t even require the use of a fancy mixer to speed up the process.
To being, combine water heated to 110°F, honey, and yeast in a small bowl. The method I’ve developed to determine the correct temperature is by using my pinky as the “thermometer” (don’t worry guys, I wash my hands before I do this). I have figured out that if the water is too hot for me too keep my pinky in the water it’s also too hot for the yeast and will kill it. The water is the perfect temperature when I can keep my pinky submerged and it’s hot, but not so hot I feel like I’m being burned. This probably is not the best or most technical method to use, but it works for me. For the best results I would suggest using a thermometer if you have one on hand.
While you are waiting for the yeast mixture to become frothy, begin prepping the rosemary and walnuts. There is nothing more delicious than using fresh herbs in a recipe, especially rosemary, the aroma is so intoxicating. Pull the leaves from the stems and finely chop them.
After the froth from the yeast forms, add the olive oil to the bowl of wet ingredients. Then combine the all purpose flour, wheat flour, salt, walnuts, and rosemary in a large mixing bowl.
Pour the wet ingredient into the dry ingredients.
Stir the mixture with a fork until a dough begins to form, then turn the dough onto a well floured surface and knead until a smooth ball forms. Cover the dough with plastic wrap or a damp towel and let it rise for 30 minutes.
After the dough has risen, punch it down and reform it into a ball. Use a piece of parchment paper to line the bottom of a dutch oven and sprinkle a generous amount of flour on the bottom to keep the dough from sticking. Then place the dough in the dutch oven and let it rise for 1 more hour.
Once the dough has doubled in size, use a serrated knife to score the top of the bread and sprinkle the top with flour. Scoring the top will help the bread expand while baking.
Cover the dutch oven, and bake the artisan bread for 30 minutes, then remove the lid and let it bake for an additional 15 minutes uncovered. By covering the bread in the dutch oven for the first 30 minutes it allows steam to form while baking, and then when it’s uncovered the bread will brown and a thick crust will form. When the artisan bread is finished baking, it’s best to let it cool completely on a baking rack before slicing.
- 1 ¼ cups water, 110℉
- 1 tablespoon honey
- 2 teaspoons yeast
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 1 ½ cups all purpose flour
- 1 ½ cups whole wheat flour
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1 tablespoon fresh rosemary, chopped
- ½ cup walnuts, chopped
- Mix water, honey, and yeast. Let sit for 5 minutes until frothy.
- Mix all purpose flour, wheat flour, and salt in a large bowl. Then combine wet and dry ingredients and mix until the dough begins to come together.
- Turn onto a well floured surface and knead until a smooth dough forms. Shape the dough into a ball and flour the outside.
- Let the dough rise for 30minutes, then punch it down and reform into a ball.
- Place a large piece of parchment paper into the bottom of a dutch oven and sprinkle with flour.
- Place ball of dough in the dutch oven and cover with a piece of plastic wrap or damp towel. Let dough rise for 1 hour.
- Once the dough has doubled in size, use a serrated knife to cut horizontal slits in the top of the dough, then sprinkle more flour on top.
- Preheat oven to 450℉. Bake covered for 30 minutes, then remove lid and continue baking for an additional 15 minutes.
- Remove from the dutch oven and let cool on a baking rack before slicing.