Artisan bread is best described by thinking about the person who makes the bread. An artisan baker is a craftsperson who is trained to the highest ability to mix, ferment, shape and bake a hand crafted loaf of bread. They understand the science behind the chemical reactions of the ingredients and know how to provide the best environment for the bread to develop. – Artisan Bakers.
Eliza and I have a bread machine but for a while I’ve had the desire to fool around with making really, really simple bread recipes. The above loaf consists of salt, flour, water and a bit of yeast. Small variations of those ingredients, the amount you knead the dough, and how you bake it – can wholly change the way the final product comes out.
I’m having a lot of fun trying different things (I also made my own tortillas with nearly the same ingredients) and learning a lot as I go. I recommend making homemade bread to anyone that wants to learn about this process. Here is a recipe which I tailored off of Jeff Hertzberg and Zoe Francois who have authored a book about making artisan bread in five minutes. I happened upon their recipe via YouTube. Smart strategy.
1 1/2 tablespoons yeast.
1 1/2 tablespoons kosher salt
6 1/2 cups unbleached, all-purpose flour, more for dusting dough.
3 1/2 cups of water (about)
Some cornmeal. (optional, you can use flour)
Put yeast and salt into bucket. Dump in lukewarm water. Dump in flour. Mix with wooden spoon until no more dry flour. Do not over mix or knead at all. Let sit in bucket for 2 hours. Rip off grapefruit sized pieces and bend them into a UFO shape (watch this video to see). Place on pizza peel to rest for 40 minutes while the oven preheats to 450. Preheat oven with an empty baking pan under pizza stone on the middle shelf. After dough ball has rested and oven, pizza stone, and baking pan are preheated – place dough ball on center of pizza stone, drop in a few cups of water into baking pan (this will steam to make the crust of the bread) and bake for 30 minutes.
I suggest subscribing to The King Arthur Flour blog. Watch this video (embedded below) on how they use their blog to market their product. But, it doesn’t sound as humdrum as that. You can tell they love what they do.
My friend-who-I-never-get-to-see Tony Green recently enjoyed a delicious cherry pie. Â The title of his post is “First Cherry Pie”, which I thought meant that he made it, but it seems he had help from his significant other.
“I didnâ€™t grow up eating fruit pies (homemade or otherwise) other than the occasional Tastykake. Around 1980, however, I had an epiphany in the form of a transcendent slice of cherry pie at O.G. Dining Room (in Greenwich Village). Since then, cherry pie has been my favorite fruit pie.
Cherry pies usually sport a lattice crust, which neither of us had ever made. Fortunately, the directions inÂ Baking IllustratedÂ were straightforward. I made the dough, which was a little different from what I usually make. It had more flour and water and less fat (I used a combination of lard and unsalted butter). The dough was easy to roll out and turned out better than it usually does. Anne made the lattice crust as well as the rest of the pie; I just took pictures.”
Either way this pie looks delicious and now I’m wanting Tony to share the recipe and lattice crust instructions with the world instead of just the photos!
Fun piece in the New York Times on what makes the perfect chocolate chip cookie.
“Like the omelet, which many believe to be the true test of a chef, the humble chocolate chip cookie is the bakerâ€™s crucible. So few ingredients, so many possibilities for disaster.”
If you ask me, all you need to make the perfect chocolate chip cookie is own The New Best Recipe Book. Of course, owning this book will allow you to make pretty much anything you want perfectly. (Thanks to Larry Halff for recommending this book to me.)