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Wednesday
May272015

Artisan Bread Update and a Bread Cloche Giveaway!

In all the years of writing this blog, the most popular post ever has been the one I wrote about No-Knead Artisan Bread.  This method, popularized by Zoe Francois and Jeffrey Hertzberg, revolutionized homemade bread baking.  Instead of making up a batch of dough every time you want to bake bread, you make up a large batch of very wet dough and let it do a long, cold fermentation in the refrigerator - no kneading, no fuss. You can store the dough in the fridge for up to two weeks, tear a hunk of dough off and make bread whenever you feel like it. A variation of this method was also developed by Jim Lahey of the Sullivan Street Bakery. Suddenly, it seemed, everyone was making homemade bread with these methods.  In the five years since I wrote that post, I've learned a few things and tweaked the recipe a little.  I thought it was time to do an update.  

Zoe and Jeffrey's approach is to make a very wet dough, let it rise and then let it sit overnight in the fridge. You then shape a piece of the dough, let it rise and then bake it on a pizza stone in the oven.  They liked to place a cup of water into a pan beneath the rack with the bread, creating a little steam for the crust.  In Jim Lahey's version, a smaller batch of wet dough is worked up and allowed to rise about 18 hours then wrapped in a towel to rise again and baked in a heavy cast iron or ceramic pot.  Both methods are terrific.  I like making up a larger batch of dough so I can keep it in the fridge and just make bread or rolls whenever I want.  I was baking my bread on a pizza stone but then tried Lahey's version of baking it in my Le Creuset pot. I really liked doing it this way and that's how I've been doing it for a while.

Right around the same time as I was thinking I should write an update to my old post, Emerson Creek Pottery sent me a Bread Cloche to try out.  Now, since I was pretty happy with baking my bread in my Le Creuset pot, I was sceptical that baking the bread in this cloche was going to make any difference, but I tried it anyway. What a surprise!  Both my husband and I noticed the difference in the crust.  I'm not sure what exactly is happening here, but I love the result.  The Bread Cloche is my new favorite thing and Emerson Creek Pottery has agreed to give one away to a lucky reader.  If you want a chance to win one of these, just leave a comment at the end of this post and a winner will be selected randomly by Wednesday, June 10th.

(This contest is now closed) Congratulations to Joann Heremma for winning!

I've made hundreds of loaves of this Artisan bread and have changed a couple of things.  For one, I do not do the water in the pan beneath the bread anymore.  I'm pretty sure this led to my oven window eventually cracking and having to be replaced.  The crust was better with the steam but it was okay without it. With the Bread Cloche, though, the crust is so amazing that I don't miss the steam at all.  If you are pretty sure you are never going to buy a Bread Cloche, please go ahead and try the bread in a dutch oven kind of pot.  It does make a big difference. 

Another change is that sometimes I don't bother to slash the top of the loaf. I've found that I still get a pretty good looking loaf, especially in the Bread Cloche.  I am also baking the loaf a little longer - until it is a deeper color than I used to.  The texture of the bread is better and I have less problem with it being gummy. 

This recipe is my version with these changes.  If you haven't tried making homemade bread, you really should - it's hassle free, cheap as can be, and the results are outstanding.  And the Bread Cloche is a big plus - you're going to want one!  Just leave a comment at the end of the post to have a chance to win one! Be sure to include your e-mail so you can be notified if you win. Giveaway ends at midnight, June 9th - A winner will be picked randomly on Wednesday, June 10th. 

(This contest is now closed)

 

Artisan Homemade Bread

for a printer friendly recipe click here

makes 4 - 5 small loaves (you can also make rolls easily with this bread). 

●  I use a plastic container with a small hole punched in the lid to store the dough. If you don't have one, you can use a very large bowl with plastic wrap and a hole punched in the wrap.  But if you're going to make dough on a regular basis, I would buy a dedicated plastic container. If you want to know the container I use for my dough it's this 21-cup container from Rubbermaid.  I love it because it doesn't take up make space in the fridge and most of the time I keep it in the door of the fridge, where it fits nicely. 

●  This dough is much more easy to work with if you let the dough rise all night, so I highly recommend making your batch of dough the day(s) before you want to use it. The dough actually develops more flavor the longer it sits in the fridge! You can keep the dough in the fridge for 2 weeks.

3 cups room temperature water
1½ Tablespoons instant yeast (instant yeast is awesome - no proofing is needed)
1½ Tablespoons kosher salt
6½ cups flour (I use half Bread Flour and half regular AP flour) 

Place the water in a large bowl and add the yeast and whisk.  Add the salt and whisk. Start adding the flour and blend until all the flour is incorporated (I use my KitchenAid mixer with the dough hook to do this).  Transfer the dough to a plastic container with a small hole punched in the top to allow the gases to escape.  Let rise for about two hours.  I lift the container up and let it drop on the counter to collapse the dough inside. Then just stick it in the fridge all night. 

When you want to bake bread, allow about an hour and half from start to finish. Here is the way I do it: I have divided this whole process into four 20 minute steps.  Place a piece of baking parchment on your counter and tear off the amount of dough that you want. The great thing about this dough is that you can do exactly that - bake a very small loaf of bread or a large one. Shape the dough into a tight ball, placing your thumbs on top of the loaf and pulling them down and under the dough, creating a nice surface tension on the top. Place the dough on the parchment paper and let rise for 20 minutes.  Place your Bread Cloche or a heavy cast iron pot with a lid in your oven and turn the oven to 450° F. to preheat.  Continue to let the bread rise on the counter another 20 minutes.

After the dough has risen, open the oven door and carefully remove the lid from you Cloche or pot. Transfer the bread dough, along with the parchment paper, to the pot and place the lid back on.  Bake for 20 minutes. Remove the lid and bake for another 20 minutes (this will depend on how large a batch of dough you are making) or just until the bread is a deep golden brown.  Baking the bread until it is a deep color is the key to preventing a gummy interior.

Remove from the oven and allow to sit for at least 15 minutes before serving.  Easy!

 

Giveaway ends at midnight, June 9th - Be sure to include your e-mail so you can be notified if you win - A winner will be picked randomly on Wednesday, June 10th.

(This contest is now closed) 

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Reader Comments (435)

Would love to try anything that can improve my mediocre bread baking skills!

May 27, 2015 | Unregistered CommenterJean

I make this bread all the time! Would love to win a bread cloche!

May 27, 2015 | Unregistered CommenterCheri

It looks like it creates a great crust!

May 27, 2015 | Unregistered CommenterJennie

Sounds so good. Will try this bead this weekend! Joe

May 27, 2015 | Unregistered CommenterJoe

The only bread I make is this recipe. I only bake it on a stone though since I almost ruined my pot. My stone has crumbled due to years of use, would love a bakers cloche.

May 27, 2015 | Unregistered CommenterJulie

love this!!! have used your pizza crust recipe and done the cinnamon swirl bread.. this sounds fantastic!

May 27, 2015 | Unregistered CommenterFarrell

This bread cloche sounds like an excellent addition to making easy and wonderful Artisian bread. I, too, have stopped using water when baking mine. It actually seemed to make the crust tough, and you're right, the bread comes out fine without it. I don't have a pizza stone, so I bake mine on a heavy cookie sheet lined with parchment. Works like a charm. As we say around here, this bread is fool proof.

May 27, 2015 | Unregistered CommenterSGH

It looks yummy!!

May 27, 2015 | Unregistered CommenterMichele

I love baking bread and what great information on storing dough for future use. The artisan bread looks yummy!

May 27, 2015 | Unregistered CommenterCheryl

I have always wanted to bake bread but it seemed so timely. I love the idea of making a large batch and having it there when I want to bake some bread. I never plan ahead so this way its ready to go.
thank you for posting the recipe and the Bread Cloche, that looks so cool.

May 27, 2015 | Unregistered Commentermarguerite

I've tried this with a dutch oven and had meh result and been going back & forth on springing for the cloche. Would love to get the crust you have!

May 27, 2015 | Unregistered CommenterLeslie

I want to become a better bread baker.

May 27, 2015 | Unregistered CommenterBecky

This is great. I was a devotee of making home made bread, but it sort of fell off my radar of late. This post is a nice reminder, and a cloche would be fantastico!!!

May 27, 2015 | Unregistered CommenterLisa DeNunzio

These are so cool and your bread looks lovely, soft and moist. Thank you for giving the opportunity for us to win one of these. I am not too great at making bread, but artisan bread seems to be some of the easier breads I have made. Would love to try it out in one of these cool kitchen toys.

May 27, 2015 | Unregistered CommenterTania

Love your recipes and can't wait to try this.

May 27, 2015 | Unregistered CommenterJan

What a great idea....and it's a beautiful piece of pottery as well as functional.

May 27, 2015 | Unregistered CommenterKaren

Love artisan bread and would be nice to be able to make at home!

May 27, 2015 | Unregistered Commenterricksbarngrill

Thanks for the recipe. However, it would be more useful to myself and others if the measurements were in weights (preferably metric). Weighing all of my ingredients has been the one trick that has brought my bread baking to a higher level.

I hope my criticism will not affect my chance to win the contest.

Thanks

May 27, 2015 | Unregistered CommenterJan

Is there anything more comforting than the smell of homemade bread?

May 27, 2015 | Unregistered CommenterCarol

This looks delicious! Anything that would help my baking skills is a plus. Please enter my name for your giveaway. Thanks

May 27, 2015 | Unregistered CommenterPatti

The cloche looks like an interesting addition to anyone's baking equipment. Does it also work just as easily for other types of bread?

May 27, 2015 | Unregistered CommenterJohn Ward

I would love to win the bread cloche!

May 27, 2015 | Unregistered CommenterAlison H.

I haven't tried the cast iron but will this week. Thanks for the tip! Would love to try the cloche as well!!

May 27, 2015 | Unregistered CommenterSarah

I wasn't familiar with a bread Cloche, but now II am. It looks wonderful! Will you notify the proud new owner by email?

May 27, 2015 | Unregistered CommenterSandy Hillard

Have made the individual loaf following Jim Lahey's instructions
from time to time, always successful. Will now use the larger quantities
you specify, though I'm puzzled about the substantial amount of
instant yeast you use.
Cameron Poulter

May 27, 2015 | Unregistered Commentercameron poulter

I am a very faithful bread maker and I have made many versions of the No-Knead Artisan Bread, but I have to be honest, I like the small batch recipes better. I am very eager to try your new recipe and will have to add the Bread Cloche to my list for Christmas. Thanks for sharing.

May 27, 2015 | Unregistered CommenterRenee Jimenez

I would love to win a cloche!

May 27, 2015 | Unregistered CommenterCarmen

Hard to imagine that it can be better than the Lahey recipe in my Le Creuset pot but would love to give it a try! In the mean time I can't wait to try your version and the freedom of having it in the refrigerator for up to 2 weeks. Thanks.

May 27, 2015 | Unregistered CommenterMary Beth Einerson

Homemade bread is the best! I'd love to try it in a cloche.

May 27, 2015 | Unregistered CommenterEmily

I love that bread cloche. I have heard good things about them and would LOVE to try one!
Thanks for the excellent blog!

May 27, 2015 | Unregistered CommenterDebra Boyce

Like the idea of using a Le Creuset since I don't have a stone or a cloche. I have a 3-1/2 quart oval Le Creuset pot - how much do you put in the pot - 1/3? 1/2? Has anyone tried a cast iron Dutch oven? If so any changes have to be made to accommodate cast iron? Like this idea a lot! Thanks!

May 27, 2015 | Unregistered CommenterMerry

Although I live in Georgia I am a native New Yorker I make Italian bread all the time but would love
to try using the Cloche hopefully my name will be picked and I will use it as soon as I receive.
Thank you for the opportunity to be able to enter this giveaway.

Ciao

May 27, 2015 | Unregistered CommenterLinda DiAntonio

My summer goal for 2015 is to learn how to bake bread. This would definitely help me out! Thanks and thanks for all of your awesome posts!

May 27, 2015 | Unregistered CommenterMalia

Looks yummy! I would love to try the new bread cloche.

May 27, 2015 | Unregistered CommenterDeborah Dewar

From one Italian cook to another, that's an amazing recipe! What could be better than a bread cloche.
Jackie Pardini

May 27, 2015 | Unregistered CommenterJackie Pardini

When you say you punch a hole in the lid of your container, how big is the hole? Pencil-size? Quarter-size? Thanks!

May 27, 2015 | Unregistered CommenterTammy S

favorite italian phrase: un po' di pane! Can't wait to try this!

May 27, 2015 | Unregistered CommenterFrances

I love clay! This would be a wonderful addition to my cooking tools. I would love to try the bread cloche.
thank you for your website btw. I use it for catering ideas and home holiday menus!!! <3 <3
Julyn

May 27, 2015 | Unregistered CommenterJulyn

I can't wait to experiment with this! I've recently begun baking savory breads but the crust hasn't had the crunch I'd like. I'll definitely try a lid on the baking pan.

May 27, 2015 | Unregistered CommenterNatasha

I love the idea of the small loaves because there are just the two of us at home now. Nice to bring to someone too!

May 27, 2015 | Unregistered CommenterClaudia

Have loved making your no-knead artisan bread over the years, it's one of my kids' favorites! Will definitely try this updated recipe, thanks.

May 27, 2015 | Unregistered CommenterKate

Bread is the staff of life! Time to update my methods to get a wonderful loaf like yours! The "cloche" looks like a great way to go. Thanks for the recipe and chance to win. The loaf is so beautiful I think I can smell it from here! :)

May 27, 2015 | Unregistered CommenterGeri

I am an avid bread baker - enjoy trying out new and sometimes, unusual recipes. I've never tried baking Italian style breads in a heavy pan w/lid (or a bread cloche) and will surely give it a try. Thanks for giving your updates and hints.

May 27, 2015 | Unregistered CommenterAnne Schumacher

I love baking bread and was intrigued about using a cliche to bake the bread! I'd love to win!! I really enjoy your blotto!

May 27, 2015 | Unregistered CommenterLisa-Marie

Would love to receive a product that would make my bread making easier and better.

May 27, 2015 | Unregistered CommenterBarbara Fortune

This bread is the sweetest breath of yumness on the planet. More, more!

May 27, 2015 | Unregistered CommenterGiarnese Toni

What a wonderful giveaway. I use my Le Creuset oven when I bake no-knead bread, but I've never tried a cloche so thank you for the opportunity to enter. Speaking of Le Creuset, I'm hosting a giveaway on my blog. If you're interested, stop by and enter for a chance to win a 9-inch Tart Pan in Cherry.

Patricia
http://www.butteryum.org/blog/2015/5/21/le-creuset-giveaway-1

May 27, 2015 | Unregistered CommenterPatricia @ ButterYum

I'd love to give this a try!

May 27, 2015 | Unregistered CommenterHeidi

My nonna taught me to make bread as a child, but the dough was always used the next day. I LOVE that I now have a method to store dough for weeks and make bread when I want - thanks so much! I would be really happy with the bread cloche to test out the recipe... please pick me!

May 27, 2015 | Unregistered CommenterAMC

I so miss baking bread. So maybe this will get me going again!

May 27, 2015 | Unregistered CommenterKaren S

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