Tuesday, March 17, 2009

What's all the hype??

Artisan Bread?? Just what exactly is that?? I mean..it's not like we need another type of bread there are a gazillion types out there already and now we get to add 'artisan' to the list?? WTH??

Artisan Bread..sounds intriguing if nothing else. In simple terms, it means...bread that someone made. (HA!) ok ok..to be more specific, it means bread that is 'crafted' and not mass produced.
Sooo that means, when I get in my kitchen and bake a loaf of bread, it's ARTISAN Bread. How unique huh?
BLAH..to me, this is hoopla! Hoopla to get someone to buy something is just that..hoopla...not artisan!!
Call it what you will, it's bread. Yeast, flour of some sort, sugar (usually) and various other ingredients that one feels like adding. SO be your OWN artisan and poo poo those high prices at the store for the 'word' ARTISAN! (what we won't think of next to gain the almighty dollar!)

Here ya go..a recipe to make the perpetual 'artisan bread'. (and seriously, this couldn't be easier!)
What you'll need:
ONE VERY LARGE BOWL! (I'm being serious here..large..I repeat..LARGE).
A mixer if you have it, if not good muscles. Plastic wrap.

1 1/2 Tablespoons of salt
1 1/2 Tablespoons of yeast
3 Cups of warm water (warm to touch)
6 Cups of flour, your choice, just not self rising.
Put the salt and the yeast into a large mixing bowl (not the same one listed above). Add the warm water and mix with the mixer for a few mins. Begin adding the flour, 1/2 cup at a time, blending with the mixer untill all 6 cups are used. This dough will be very sticky.

Transfer the sticky dough, to the VERY LARGE OILED bowl, sprinkle lightly with flour and cover with a cloth. Let rise for several hours (2-3) in a warm place. You can place this inside the oven, which has been heated for 5 minutes on 200 and turned off.
After 2-3 hours, be prepared..it's like monster in the bowl and has grown to enormous size!

You won't really be able to punch it down, as it's sticky, but you can pull it away from the sides of the bowl, so pull it out from the bowl all the way around. Now remove about 1/4 of it and place in a prepared (oiled) pan of your choice. Either a loaf pan, a souffle dish, a pie pan, your choice. The dough will form to the pan you put it in for the most part (as long as the pan is not too big)
Sprinkle the top very lightly with flour and cover with your cloth and let rise in a warm place for about 40 mins.
Place plastic wrap over the large bowl of dough, tightly and put it in the fridge. (you can use it again tomorrow..just be prepared, even in the fridge it will GROW!)

Once your dough has risen 40 mins, put it in a hot oven ..450 for 30 minutes. Lower the heat to 400 and bake 20 minutes more.
This bread makes a very very crispy crust and bottom. The inside is wonderful! Serve it with any meal and call it 'ARTISAN' bread.
Everyone will bow down and call you a genius!

This recipe..this dough..the way this cooks up, is VERY VERY similar to 'pan pizza' crust...soooo THINK ABOUT IT..consider making homemade pizza out of some of your lovely' artisan bread' ..wonder what we should really call this stuff?

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