Spring has finally arrived. More than that, we’ve reached summery this week! If you’re walking outside around dinner time, you can’t escape the smell of BBQ’s all around the area. We’re not huge BBQ-fans, but we love to eat outside. And with these warm temps, we like to move into the garden. We might fire up the BBQ this weekend, or we might settle for a quick and light meal. What I love in both cases? Freshly baked bread on the side.
Easy to make at home
You can make sure to buy a fresh loaf at the bakery or the supermarket. Perfectly fine. Because baking brad at home is a tedious job. Right? Nope, it doesn’t have to be. With this recipe for artisan bread, anyone can bake fresh bread at home.
The ‘no knead’ method
You’ve probably heard of it before, no-knead bread. As in: bread you don’t have to knead. We’re making this bread already for a couple of years and I have tried several variations. Using another type of flour or adding extra ingredients. The bread is very popular all over the world. Once you’ve tried it yourself, you’ll understand why. Making your own artisan bread at home has never been this easy.
How can this ever work? By giving the dough enough time. The dough has to rise at least 8 hours. Preferably longer, up to 24 hours. So, it’s not a recipe you can make just before use. I prepare the dough just before going to sleep. That way it has enough time to rise. The next day, I can bake it any time I want to. It sounds so easy, right? Well, it is.
375 – 525 g (spelt)flour (see instructions)
1 tsp dry yeast
2 tsp salt
375 ml lukewarm water
First, mix all dry ingredients in a large bowl. I’ve put a very wide margin for the flour in the recipe, as the exact amount of flour very much depends on the type of flour and even the brand you’re using. I’ve noticed that spelt flour is much heavier than regular flour. For a bread with regular AP flour, I used about 375 – 425 g of flour. With my last spelt bread, I used 525 g flour.
Start with the smallest amount of flour and add more as needed. The dough doesn’t have to reach a ‘dry’ state, where your hands don’t stick anymore. Sticky is fine, as you are not going to knead it.
Add the water and mix everything with a wooden spoon. Add more flour if it’s too wet.
Cover the bowl with cling film and put in a place where the dough can rest (I usually put it on the cupboard in the living room, out of reach of children and pets).
Let rise for at least 8 hours. Preferably longer, so it’s best to start it just before you go to sleep at night.
Put a piece of parchment paper on your workspace and dust it generously with flour. The dough is very sticky and thin and without the flour, it will stick to the paper.
‘Pour’ the dough on the dusted parchment paper (I use a dough scraper to get it out of the bowl). Try to shape it in a round form. Again, I use the dough scraper and kind of fold the edges.
Let the dough rest like that for about an hour.
Meanwhile, preheat your oven to 220°C.
Place, halfway the rising time, a cast iron pan/casserole in the oven. The pan needs to be really hot.
On the dough, you will see air bubbles have formed. That’s a good thing!
And now a dangerous job: take the pan out of the oven (don’t forget your oven mitts!), carefully lift the parchment paper with the dough and place it in the hot pan.
Put the lid on the pan, put the pan back in the oven and let it bake (lid closed) for 30 minutes.
Take the lid off the pan (again, don’t forget your oven mitts, because: HOT!) and let bake for another 15 minutes or until the top has reached a nice golden colour.
Carefully take the bread out of the oven and let cool. Though hot bread, fresh from the oven… so good.
And your freshly baked, homemade bread is ready. This recipe can be made with different types of flour, even gluten free mixes (be sure to check whether these mixes are suitable for bread baking). You cabn also use whole wheat flour, but you’ll get a much denser bread (less air bubbles are formed in the dough). Well, in other words: start experimenting.