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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 (440)

Have just started using your method and am thrilled with the results. Sure beats all that kneading. Thanks.

May 29, 2015 | Unregistered CommenterTracey Reed

What a great idea! Homemade breadis soooo much better than shop bought bread. Thank you very much

May 29, 2015 | Unregistered CommenterCorne

Looks great! Anything for great bread!

May 29, 2015 | Unregistered Commentermark Burbine

I've used your recipe to bake artisan bread many times, and it's always a success. I use my La Creuset, but the cloche is intriguing. I'd love to try it!

May 29, 2015 | Unregistered CommenterJane M

I've used this recipe before, but the cloche would be a great addition!

May 29, 2015 | Unregistered CommenterAvon Hansen

I love making our own bread and have been for almost a year. I would so appreciate being gifted with this gorgeous bread cloche.
Blessings and Thanks!

May 29, 2015 | Unregistered CommenterRoseanne V. Sabol

I have been making the Chad Robertson Tartine bread for several years...always using the heavy cast iron pot for baking. I would love to try this recipe and try the cloche.,

May 29, 2015 | Unregistered CommenterAnnemarie

I've been wanting to try bread baking, but had a giant mental block that it would be too hard. This recipe looks great, and I can't wait to try it. I'd love the bread cloche to get the exterior like yours.

May 29, 2015 | Unregistered CommenterPat Shaw

I would love to try the cloche for the bread. We put rosemary in the dough befor cooking!

May 29, 2015 | Unregistered CommenterKim R

Love making bread and would be very interested to see the difference a cloche makes.

May 29, 2015 | Unregistered CommenterKristine K

Enjoy baking bread and trying to achieve the crumb and crust of artisan breads. This would be a wonderful addition to my kitchen toolbox. Thank you for your wonderful recipes and the opportunity to win this bread cloche.

May 29, 2015 | Unregistered CommenterVirginia

Now there is no excuse with the tweaked recipe and the bread cloche. Time to get busy and bake some bread.

May 29, 2015 | Unregistered CommenterJoy

Love to bake but still trying to perfect yeast breads! Love Emerson Creek Pottery & firmly believe their bread cloche will be wonderful!

May 29, 2015 | Unregistered CommenterB Poirier

Looking for options to save money and enter the "bake your own easy bread" arena brought me here!

I never heard about baking bread in a pot before and am heading out for flour and yeast today to give this a try this weekend. Before I read this, the thought of so many steps and time frames to manage in breadmaking has intimidated me. An Emerson Creek Pottery Bread Cloche sounds like just the ticket to add into the baker's toolkit!

Thanks for sharing ...and giving.

May 29, 2015 | Unregistered CommenterRobin Lynn Brooks

It's another rainy day in Oklahoma. Wish I was home baking artisan bread in the beautiful bread cloche right now! The smell of bread baking is one of my favorite things.

May 29, 2015 | Unregistered CommenterLinda Redmon

I've had a ton of success with the original recipe and can't wait to try it with a bread cloche!

May 29, 2015 | Unregistered CommenterJessica

Would love to try this bread.

May 29, 2015 | Unregistered CommenterDiAnn

Would be totally awesome to add this to my bread making! **)

May 29, 2015 | Unregistered CommenterGinny Shelby

I have been making bread for 40 years and was very excited a few years ago when I found the No knead Artisan Bread method. Since our kids are grown it is nice to be able to make fresh bread for my husband and I and have better control over the portions. Then when the kids or grand kids are here I just make a larger batch! I also love the other book Zoe and Jefferey wrote using this method with whole grain breads. I use both and grind my own wheat, it really makes a difference.
I would love to have a Bread Cloche, it sounds amazing and would simplify things even more. I love your website and look forward to your email updates and recipes. I am looking forward to trying your recipe for artisan bread.

May 29, 2015 | Unregistered CommenterCindy McGee

Awsome! This just might get me back into bread making! I love artisan bread, but after 7 years on low-carb with no bread - it looks even MORE awesome! (I've been off low-carb since January-back to eating some bread)

May 29, 2015 | Unregistered Commenterlinda cameron

First time posting, but I can't pass up a chance to miss winning this cloche. Thanks for the opportunity!

May 29, 2015 | Unregistered CommenterMary Becker

This is just what I need to up my bread baking game. I hope I win.

May 29, 2015 | Unregistered CommenterChristy S.

This winter I turned a friend of mine on to the no knead bread recipe. She and I spent a couple of great days trying all sorts of breads but the real winner was the no knead recipe. Mmmm that crust, and the texture of the inside, ooo just plain yummy!!!! I suspect this cloche could only make a great loaf of bread into an unbelievably amazing loaf of bread. I would love to own that cloche! Love your blog, thanks!

May 29, 2015 | Unregistered CommenterBebe C

Oh I would SO LOVE one!! Thank You!!!

May 29, 2015 | Unregistered CommenterSusan Moore

Would loved to try the bread cloche !!!

May 29, 2015 | Unregistered CommenterRWRottler

Love your recipes and your blog. Thank you for sharing.

May 29, 2015 | Unregistered CommenterSharon

Oh, it looks so wonderful! What a great idea for the dough container too. Thanks. magpied.piper at gmail dot com

May 29, 2015 | Unregistered CommenterSolducky

I love crusty bread!

May 29, 2015 | Unregistered CommenterSusan Christy

I've tried the no-knead bread in the past...this makes me excited to make it again soon!

May 29, 2015 | Unregistered CommenterJulie Wood

When it comes to the food pyramid, bread is the base for me. I'd love to bake fresh bread in this cloche.

May 30, 2015 | Unregistered CommenterJeff C

I have been using my clay baker for breads and like the results. The sides are high so the sides of the bread never get quite as crusty/crispy. This bread cloche appears to have lower sides which should solve that problem. Homemade bread is hard to beat.

May 30, 2015 | Unregistered CommenterDebbie

I came across your food blog a year or so ago. What intrigued me and caught my eye was the statement 40 cents a loaf! My husband and daughter love bread with practically every meal. I thought I would give it a try. It did not appear hard. Pretty simple I thought. Four ingredients and put it in the refrigerator and let the fermentation start. Four loaves whenever and stores in the refrigerator for up to two weeks. So it went great! We love the bread and everyone who has tried it friends and family love it too! I've passed this recipe and talks of your food blog on to some of my girlfriends and they have been making it as well. Besides my love for this recipe, I love your chocolate zucchini cake as well as your lemon cake. Simple but delicious goodness! Thank you for having such wisdom to create a great food blog for someone like me who loves to make food for my family and friends! Checking back shortly I am sure of that to see your recent posts. Sincerely, Kelly

May 30, 2015 | Unregistered CommenterKelly Huffer

My 13 grandchildren and I enjoy baking bread, pizza and calzones together. This is an awesome recipe and so simple, There is nothing better than a fabulous crusty loaf, and this is it!!!
Vinnie D.

May 30, 2015 | Unregistered CommenterVinnie D'Angelo

For years, this has been my "go-to" recipe for bread. I taught my husband how to shape the dough, rise the loaf, slash the top and bake the bread. The aroma of the baking bread is heavenly! Beaming with pride, he then takes a photo of his masterpiece. Waiting for the bread to cool is the most difficult time before we can enjoy his baking accomplishment. Thanks!

May 30, 2015 | Unregistered Commenterseastep

I would love to win this. This would be really cool at add to my cooking repertoire. Fingers crossed. Thanks for the opportunity.

May 30, 2015 | Unregistered CommenterKara

Hi there, I think all your posts are wonderful and am so glad I found you. Please please please would you give me the ingredients in metric cos there are about 4 different sets of measurments from metric to American cup and I do so want to get your recipes right! I know that it would be very time consuming, but if you could just do it once .... for the general kind of recipes we could use them for all your amazing recipes. Thank you sooooo much. xx

May 30, 2015 | Unregistered CommenterMaggie

So easy and so good!

May 30, 2015 | Unregistered CommenterMary C

What a wonderful giveaway, and I can't wait to try the bread!

May 30, 2015 | Unregistered CommenterMom24_4evermom

Making bread is one of my favorite things to bake. I too, am always looking for ways and equipment to improve my skills.

May 30, 2015 | Unregistered CommenterTommie H.

I would love to have this bread cloche. I bet it bakes great. I have baked bread in a clay chicken roaster like this in the past. Pick me!!!!!

May 30, 2015 | Unregistered Commenterann young

Thank you for sharing your expertise and wonderful recipes. This give a way is just cream on the cake.

May 30, 2015 | Unregistered CommenterKay

Started using your bread recipe as I live in the country and hated using frozen shop bought bread. After a few not so quite wonderful attempts I have now pretty much nailed it. Now I have to learn to stop at a few slices, yum!!

May 30, 2015 | Unregistered CommenterJan Shaddick

I used to make Oatmeal bread twice a week for my family but can't wait to try this recipe out on them:) Thank you for your recipes!

May 30, 2015 | Unregistered CommenterLori V

I love freshly made bread! It's my Kryptonite! I would love win this cloche and try it! Love your recipes, also.

May 30, 2015 | Unregistered CommenterJudy E

This would be a delightful item to win!

May 31, 2015 | Unregistered CommenterLB

I started making bread the no knead method after reading your blog. This sounds like a great method instead of using a Dutch oven. Love your blog!

May 31, 2015 | Unregistered CommenterGail Oliverio

I haven't bought bread from a store for 2 years, the texture and taste are far inferior to this homemade bread - my daughter also suffered less gut issues when she was living at home and eating my 'artisan bread'. I love using my stone to cook on but I love experimenting - will try in the pot, and if I'm lucky enough to be the winner of this comp I will be incredibly grateful for the opportunity. The best gift you've given me tho, is this recipe and links to the book, which I purchased and use often - thank you

May 31, 2015 | Unregistered CommenterCatherine

i'm going to try this today!!!

May 31, 2015 | Unregistered Commenterrose

A cloche looks like a good alternative to a cast iron pot.

May 31, 2015 | Unregistered CommenterRick

Looks amazing never heard of a bread cloche would love one!!

May 31, 2015 | Unregistered CommenterBarbara elliott

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