Artisan Bread gives me the smell of freshly baked bread wafting from my kitchen, filling the house with its aroma. It transports me back to my younger years when my mom or sisters made bread for our family of 12. Yes, 12, that was a lot of bread. It wasn’t what we now call artisan bread, but it was just as wholesome, healthy, and delicious.
I think those days and that wonderful smell was the beginning of my love of baking bread. Growing up, I had plenty of opportunities to learn the basic skills and principles of bread baking. I’ll be honest there were times I would have preferred not to be in the kitchen baking bread. However, when it was my turn to bake, that was not an option. I would have to devote nearly a whole day to making 12 loaves of bread. The method I learned involved lots of kneading of the bread dough.
How to Make Artisan Whole-Grain Bread
A basic bread has four simple ingredients, flour, water, salt, and yeast. That’s it! Anything else is extra bonus ingredients. When you mix these four ingredients together, magic happens. They transform into the most amazing and delicious food we call bread. Let’s create magic and make some artisan bread!!!
SIS - Simple is Smart Tip
A few years ago, I discovered a book by Peter Reinhart on bread baking that challenged my beliefs on how to make bread. He teaches a no-knead, stretch, and fold method for making bread. This method took my bread from delicious but ordinary to artisan and extraordinary. I call this technique the envelope fold technique.
Neuro Nutrition Nugget - Ancient Grains
Ancient grains are grains that have remained largely unchanged over the past several centuries. Today, most whole grains fall in this category except for modern wheat. These grains are also superfoods, rich in nutrients and fiber.
Ancient grains are truly amazing when it comes to boosting brain health! Not only are they incredibly delicious, but they also provide a wide range of nutrients that are essential for our brain’s well-being. These grains are packed with fiber, which helps regulate blood sugar levels and keeps our brain sharp and focused throughout the day. Additionally, ancient grains contain vitamins like vitamin E and B vitamins, which play a crucial role in maintaining a healthy brain. They are also rich in antioxidants, which protect our brain cells from damage caused by free radicals. So, next time you reach for the sncient grains when you make a loaf of bread and know that you’re doing your brain a huge favor!
Step by Step for Artisan Bread.
- Measure the flour into your mixing bowl. Weighing the flour will give you the best result. If you don’t have a scale to weigh the flour, hop over to my Youtube video on measuring flour. You will be glad you did because it will keep your bread from becoming dry and crumbly. I used bread flour. However, you can use half whole wheat and half bread flour. If you want to use 100% whole wheat flour, add two tablespoons of whole grain bread improver to the flour.
- I make my own mix of whole grains. I use what I have handy at the time I make the mix. I mix together equal parts of any combination of cracked wheat, rolled oats, steel-cut oats, hulled sunflower seeds, pumpkin seeds, and flax seeds. I love to use the ancient grains farro, amaranth, teff, freekeh, millet, and Kamut. If you can find cracked varieties of the ancient grain, use them. If not, I briefly pulse a mixture of ancient grains in the Vitamix or Blendtec blender to break them up and assist with softening by helping them absorb moisture. If you have only a few varieties, use what you have. There is no perfect combination. It is a matter of what you have and what you like to use in your artisan bread.
- Cover and let rest for 15 minutes (this rehydrates the flour).
4. Envelope fold the dough four times. Cover the dough with the mixing bowl between the envelope folds. The dough has to rest for 20 minutes between each stretch and fold, so this part of the process will take an hour.
- Stir the ingredients for your bread together with a spoon. The dough will be very shaggy.
- Let the dough rest for five minutes, and do the first envelope fold. Place about a Tbsp of oil on the countertop and make an oil slick.
- Place the dough on the oil and stretch the dough into a rough square about 9 X 9 inches. Fold the bottom 3 inches up and the top 3 inches down. Press together.
- Rotate the dough 90 degrees and repeat step three.
- Cover the dough and let it rest for 20 minutes.
- Repeat two more times with 20-minute rest intervals between. Then place the dough in a bowl and cover it. Let the dough rise for one hour and form your loaves of artisan bread.
5. After the last envelope fold, place the dough back in your mixing bowl, and cover with plastic wrap until the dough doubles in size. Once the dough has doubled, shape the dough into two batards or one round rustic loaf. You want to retain the gas trapped in little pockets throughout the dough when shaping the loaves. So treat the dough gently and don’t degas the dough.
6. Spread some of the wholegrain mixtures on a piece of parchment paper—mist with some water, and roll the loaf in the grains. The water helps the grains stick to the loaf.
7. Cover the loaves with plastic wrap, and let the loaf rise until almost double. Cut three slashes in the top of the loaf, mist the loaf with water, and bake
Baking your Artisan Bread
The crisp crust on the artisan bread of whole-grain is partly a result of steam during the early part of the baking process. Mist the loaf with some water just before placing it in the oven. Then briefly open the oven door and remist the loaf at one minute, two minutes, and three minutes after placing the loaf in the oven.
If the loaf is getting over-browed, gently tent the loaf with aluminum foil. Rotate the position of the loaf in the oven to prevent uneven browning.
Lastly, bake the loaf until the internal temperature reaches 210 – 212-degrees F ( 99 – 100 degrees C) with an instant-read thermometer.
Time to cut off a piece of warm bread, spread it with butter, add a generous spoon of homemade jam, and YUM!!!
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Artisan Whole-grain Bread
- To see the ingredient amounts in metric units, click the blue "METRIC:" button between the ingredients and the instructions for this recipe.
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- Mix all the ingredients together with a mixing spoon. The dough will be very rough and shaggy
- Let dough rest 15 minutes
- Make an oil slick on the counter and do four envelope folds at 20-minute intervals.
- After the last envelope fold, place the dough in an oiled bowl and cover with plastic wrap.
- Let the dough rise until nearly double - about an hour.
- After the dough has doubled, remove it from the bowl and split it in half. Form each rustic loaf as shown in the video. Much of the gas in the dough should remain in the loaf to give it small air pockets after baking.
- Gently roll the dough in the whole grains to lightly coat the outside of the loaf. Misting the loaf with water helps the wholegrains stick to the loaf.
- Place loaves on a large parchment-lined baking sheet without a lip. If you don't have one without a lip you can bake the loaves on the baking sheet.
- Loosely cover the loaves with plastic wrap and let loaves rise nearly double. About 30 minutes. Preheat the oven to 450 degrees F (232 C) while the loaves are rising.
- Just before baking make 3 horizontal slashes with a sharp knife. Mist the loaves with water from a spray bottle.
- Place loaves on baking steel by sliding the parchment with the loaves off the baking sheet. For an extra crispy crust, mist loaves every 60 seconds for the first 3 minutes of baking.
- Bake loaves for 12 minutes at 450 degrees and then decrease the temperature to 400 degrees and bake another 20-25 minutes or until the internal temperature reads 210 - 212 degrees on an instant-read thermometer. If the loaves start to over-brown loosely tent them with foil. If your oven has a hot spot move the loaves around to allow them to brown evenly.
Depending on the time of year and the humidity levels in your kitchen. If you have high humidity your dough may be super sticky. you may need to add an additional 1/2 cup (60g) of bread flour to the recipe. Whole grains: I make my mix of whole grains. I use what I have handy at the time I make the mix. I mix equal parts of any combination of cracked wheat, rolled oats, steel cut oats, hulled sunflower seeds, pumpkin seeds, and flax seeds; I love to use the ancient grains farro, amaranth, teff, freekeh, millet, and Kamut. If you can find cracked varieties of the ancient grain, use them. If not, I briefly pulse a mixture of ancient grains in the Vitamix or Blendtec blender to break them up. This helps them absorb moisture and soften. If you have only a few of the suggested grains, use what you have. There is no perfect combination. It is a matter of what you have and what you like. Sprinkle about 1/3 of a cup of the whole grains on your work surface to roll the loaves in. You can use more or less depending on how many whole grains you want on the outside of the loaf. Egg wash or a little corn syrup and water(dairy-free) also work well for helping the grains adhere to the loaf. Don't put the Egg wash or corn syrup and water in a spray bottle. There is usually some flour on the outside of the loaf, if you mist the loaf with a little water, the water and flour form a "paste" that also works great for gluing the grains to the loaf. If you don't have baking steel, you can bake the bread on a sheet pan. The steel will give a crispier crust.