by Julie Kohl
I love fresh, warm, just out of the oven bread. I always lamented the fact that we didn’t have a local bakery and for years went without fresh bread mostly, because I thought it was really hard to make. Turns out that it doesn’t have to be. I came across this recipe for delicious artisan bread a few years ago. It is EASY to prepare and tastes so good. I still wish we had a local bakery but this will do when I am craving warm bread. And the best part is, you can make this in UNDER an hour!
- 4 1/2 teaspoons active dry yeast (two packets)
- 1 tablespoon sugar
- 1 1/2 cups water
- 3 1/2 cups bread flour
- 1 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 3/4 teaspoon vinegar (I used red wine vinegar but balsamic works great too!)
- You will need a heavy duty, oven-safe dish with a lid. I used my cast iron dutch oven. An enameled dutch oven or a covered casserole dish will also work.
- Place the baking dish of your choice into the oven and preheat the oven to 450 degrees allowing the dish to come to temperature with the oven.
- In the bowl of your stand mixer combine the yeast, sugar and water with the paddle attachment and then allow to rest about 5 minutes.
- Now add 3 cups of flour, the salt and the vinegar and beat for several minutes. Switch to the dough hook, add the last 1/2 cup of flour and beat for eight minutes. The dough will be sticky.
- Oil a large microwave bowl. Transfer the dough to the bowl rolling it into a ball shape. Cover the bowl with a wet towel and cover that with a dry towel.
- Microwave on high for 25 seconds. Let the bowl rest in the microwave for about 5 minutes.
- Microwave on high for 25 more seconds. Remove the bowl from the microwave and let it rest on the counter for at least 15 minutes.
- Remove your heated dish from the oven. Shape the dough into a ball and place into the hot dish. Make several slits in the top of the loaf. Cover and return to the oven immediately. Bake for 30 minutes. Internal temperature of the bread should reach at least 120 and should sound hollow when tapped. If the bread needs more time remove the lid and bake an additional 10 minutes. Remove from the oven and allow to cool at least 10 minutes before slicing. Enjoy!