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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)

I love maikng homemade bread, and esp the NO Knead bread. The bottom half of my cloche cracked big time so I've been using my Lodge Dutch oven. The cloche is so convenient & I don't worry about ruining my D.O.

May 31, 2015 | Unregistered CommenterStephanie-Oh

Although I have been baking bread for years I would love to win this cloche. I've never been able to get the crust like you illustrate due to baking in a cloche. Thank you.

May 31, 2015 | Unregistered CommenterJeannine Wittmayer

We are passionate about our homemade bread...nothing like it!!

May 31, 2015 | Unregistered CommenterLisa and John

Oooooooo, a new baking goodie! Making bread, any bread, in a new way sounds like so much fun.

May 31, 2015 | Unregistered CommenterKahren McCrow

I'd love to try baking bread in a cloche!

May 31, 2015 | Unregistered Commenterbarb

Thanks for the bread baking tips.

May 31, 2015 | Unregistered CommenterPaula

This bread recipe looks delicious. I've enjoyed baking bread with this cookbook and made a beautiful loaf today.

May 31, 2015 | Unregistered CommenterNell

I have tried baking bread many, many times but alas, seems if it doesn't come in a plastic bag with a twist tie, I'm just not eating it. Rats!! This may change my old ways. Hope so!

June 1, 2015 | Unregistered CommenterShelby

I love the idea of a cloche and the approach to baking the bread that you provided. Thank you.

June 1, 2015 | Unregistered CommenterAnne

Looks Yummy!

June 1, 2015 | Unregistered CommenterBeans

Looks Yummy!

June 1, 2015 | Unregistered CommenterBeans

Thanks for the great post!! The bread cloche sounds amazing!!

June 1, 2015 | Unregistered CommenterAlicia H

Have made your bread before and had it with your roasted pepper "sauce" and pasta. Would like to try the cloche for our next batch!

June 1, 2015 | Unregistered CommenterRobert

I've been making bread this way for years. It's so easy!

June 1, 2015 | Unregistered CommenterEmily

This sounds like the best thing since "sliced bread".

June 1, 2015 | Unregistered CommenterBarbara V

I'm going to have to make a lot more of this bread! I used 1 cup of sourdough starter instead of the yeast and left it in the fridge three days, knocking it down every morning. The finished loaf looks and tastes incredible—nice crust, great crumb: couldn't be better. Possibly the best part is the time: pull some dough out of the fridge, form the loaf and let it rise, and 30 minutes in the hot box. Three hours start to finish, most of it spent reading the latest murder mystery! What could be better?

June 1, 2015 | Unregistered CommenterBakeryBoy

I have been wanting one of these! I've been making the artisan no-knead bread on and off since your original post, so thanks for the update!

June 1, 2015 | Unregistered CommenterBobi

Have never tried bread baking in cast iron...sounds interesting, as does a bread cloche. What better way to enjoy your great bread recipe. Maybe I will have the opportunity to try both methods,.

June 1, 2015 | Unregistered CommenterKay

Since finding this blog a few years ago, this has been my go to bread recipe! Love this site and love this bread! My family thinks I'm awesome everytime I make it :)

June 2, 2015 | Unregistered CommenterLinda

Hi, I have been looking for an artisan bread recipe to try and here it is!!!! Will definitely try!!! Love home made breads!!!

June 2, 2015 | Unregistered CommenterGayathri

If you have trouble finding a warm spot to put your dough for raising try popping it (peel and all) onto a heating pad set at low. Cover with a large inverted mixing bowl. Depending on your heating pad, you may want to prop the edge of the bowl up so things don't get too warm. In the winter our house is at about 14 degrees (58F) at night and we only take it up to 17 degrees (64F) or so during the day, which is a tad cool for raising bread. The heating pad works like a charm.

June 2, 2015 | Unregistered CommenterJane Gartrell

I am definitely going to try this recipe. The bread cloche looks like a great thing to make this yummy easy bread in. Thanks for sharing this update!

June 2, 2015 | Unregistered CommenterPenny

I love making no-knead bread!

June 3, 2015 | Unregistered CommenterAbbi

I am trying to improve on my skills of making breads would love any advice. :)

June 3, 2015 | Unregistered CommenterSusie M

I would love to try the artisan bread using a cloche. My husband and grandchild love homemade bread.

June 3, 2015 | Unregistered CommenterPat Lowe

The bread clothe sounds like a great tool in my kitchen. I make bread all the time, so this can be really helpful.

June 3, 2015 | Unregistered CommenterDiederik

Nothing better than home baked bread!!

June 3, 2015 | Unregistered CommenterJean

What a wonderful addition this would make to my kitchen! Thanks!!

June 3, 2015 | Unregistered CommenterJodie F.

No-knead bread...yea! Bread cloche...double ..yea!! Many thanks to you for introducing me to both.

June 3, 2015 | Unregistered CommenterKay

I always thought making bread was difficult and took many hours. This recipe is fantastic! I made it the first time you posted it so I can't wait to try the updated version. Thank you for all your recipes!!

June 3, 2015 | Unregistered CommenterErin M

I have never made bread and in my old age, I just might give it a shot! I have always been afraid of using yeast as I thought it made baking difficult. This recipe looks like I could do it---that is if I had the proper pan.

June 3, 2015 | Unregistered CommenterGerri M

I've always used a Lodge enameled cast iron dutch oven for baking no knead bread. I'm intrigued by the idea of using the Bread Cloche. It would likely be lighter and easier lifting in and out of the oven!

June 4, 2015 | Unregistered CommenterMac

It looks so good I think I can smell it!

June 4, 2015 | Unregistered CommenterJanne

Looking forward to trying this version of No Knead Bread!

June 4, 2015 | Unregistered Commenterjan davis

I LOVE baking bread, this seems like a totally different technique!

June 5, 2015 | Unregistered CommenterKoko @ Koko Likes

I love baking bread and I would love to have one of these. Your bread looks delicious!

June 5, 2015 | Unregistered CommenterBrenda Murray

I have just discovered this site OMG! Thank YOU!

June 5, 2015 | Unregistered CommenterLynn E

This Bread Cloche is lovely, and your bread looks fabulous! I've been making bread with a bread machine for years, but I've been wanting to try my hand at no-knead bread, and after reading your post, I think I'll be doing it soon. Thanks!

June 5, 2015 | Unregistered CommenterAnne

i love homemade bread. I can't wait to try the recipe.

June 5, 2015 | Unregistered CommenterKendra Koski

There's nothing better than a slice of warm homemade bread! This recipe sounds great and I'll be trying it this weekend. Can't wait!

June 5, 2015 | Unregistered CommenterChristine W.

Yumm!!! Pane!!!! There's nothing like good bread, good cheese and good wine!

June 6, 2015 | Unregistered Commenterjp

There only being two of us, this sounds like the perfect no fuss solution to our bread love! I've never made bread without a bread machine before... I am trying this one as we speak! ... So to speak ;) Thank you for this recipe and what a wonderful giveaway! Hope to try a bread cloche soon ;)

June 6, 2015 | Unregistered CommenterJean

Love this! Can't wait to try it.

June 6, 2015 | Unregistered CommenterRebecca

I've been baking our sandwich bread , almost exclusively for 5 years. I bake dinner bread much less often, as. I can't get the crust right. My husband is French and picky about his baguette.

This sounds like my solution. I would LOVE to try it out!

June 7, 2015 | Unregistered CommenterSusan L.

Happy to find your site! I have seen this on the Emerson Pottery web page. Would love to have one for baking bread. I'm sure it does a much better job than baking on just a tray.

June 7, 2015 | Unregistered CommenterAngela

Would love to win a bread cloche. Used to make a version of this style. but you had to knead it. Will definitely have to try this one out. Thanks for sharing the recipe. Nothing Like Real Homemade Bread!

June 7, 2015 | Unregistered CommenterKaren

Homemade Artisan Bread is the best bread ever! Excited to try this new, tweaked recipe :)

June 7, 2015 | Unregistered CommenterElisa D.

Love homemade bread. Can't wait to try this recipe.

June 7, 2015 | Unregistered CommenterMary Ellen

This looks amazing, love artisan bread, this cloche looks great, whoever thought of it is a genius

June 7, 2015 | Unregistered CommenterMissy

Baking bread is my favourite thing to cook. Your bread looks amazing. Thanks for sharing.

June 8, 2015 | Unregistered CommenterNancy

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