I think artisan breads are one of the biggest rip offs. I always stop to look at them at the farmer’s market. They’re beautiful and tempting, but I know they’re not worth the $5+ price tag when I can make one at home for just a few cents.
Breads can seem intimidating, but they really aren’t very difficult – especially if you use a “No Knead” method. Although this method requires some advance planning (it’ll need to rise all day), it only takes about 5 minutes of active prep time. The bread has a nice, delicate crumb and a complex, almost sourdough-like flavor. Once you have the basics down, it’s really easy to customize the loaves with different add-ins to come up with your own unique creation.
The two breads here are from one batch of dough. I split it in half and then made one savory bread to serve with dinner and one sweet bread to have for breakfast. The savory bread has about 2 Tbs each of fresh rosemary and fresh time and is topped with salted sunflower seeds. This is one of the best combinations I’ve come up with – it’s absolutely amazing, especially served warm from the oven and topped with butter and sea salt.
The sweet version has about ¼ cup of mini chocolate chips in it. This one was great toasted and spread with a little bit of almond butter. CG was nice sent me some individual packets of Barney Butter that are awesome. Each pack has 90 calories and is the perfect amount for 2 pieces of toast. I never have time to eat breakfast at home, and I loved how easy it was to just throw the individual packet in my bag so I could make my toast at work without having to lug around a whole jar of nut butter. I’ll definitely be buying some of these! (Thanks, CG!)
Some of the recipes floating around for this are overly complicated, and require things like Dutch Ovens. I just form mine into boules and bake them right on my pizza stone and they come out great! Also, the rise-time doesn’t need to be exact. If you have time, mix it up in the morning and let it sit all day. If you’re not a morning person, mix it before you go to bed the night before. It’ll come out just as great! I usually mix mine in the mornings on the weekend and at night during the week.
Basic No-Knead Bread
- 2 cups AP flour
- 1 cup whole white wheat flour
- 3/4 teaspoon yeast
- 1-1/4 teaspoon salt
- 1-1/2 cups warm water
- 4 Tbs fresh herbs or ¼ cup mini chocolate chips for filling
- 2 Tbs sunflower seeds for topping
Mix all ingredients in a large bowl. You’ll be left with a wet (Mark Bittman calls it “shaggy”) dough. Cover with a towel and leave in a warm space in your kitchen for at least 6-8 hours.
Set a baking pan filled with water on the bottom of your oven. Place pizza stone in the oven and heat to 450. Once oven is heated, allow it to heat an additional 15 minutes before putting bread in. While oven is preheating, divide the dough in half on a floured counter. Slightly flatten each half into a square. Sprinkle with your desired filling, then form into a round boule shape. Top with desired topping (if using) and sprtiz with cooking spray. Transfer to pizza stone and bake for about 40 minutes. Bread will be done when an instant-read thermometer reads 210.
Remove from oven and let cool on a baking rack for 15 minutes before slicing.
Each loaf will yield about 8 slices.