Our pioneer ancestors had to bake their own bread. Some used sourdough starter and often on the trail, biscuits were baked to save time.
As a mother, writer, and part-time pharmacy technician, I need things that save me time. After looking up all the ingredients on the bread label, I decided I had to get back to baking my own, not to mention it’s sooo much cheaper.
Here’s a great artisan bread recipe I found from the book Artisan Bread in Five Minutes a Day and their website http://www.artisanbreadinfive.com/ I modified it just a bit for a better tasting bread, in my husband’s opinion.
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A pizza stone. I have no idea how my kitchen survived so long without this. It bakes rustic loaves beautifully, pizza is out of this world good, crackers, and our cookies all get baked on this beauty. Get baking like a true artisan –> Old Stove Oven Pizza Stone
Want to bake all your bread products in less than 5 minutes a day? Yes, ma’am. Hello, you had me at bread and 5 minutes. Then you need this book yesterday. A gluten free chapter and pretzel buns are worth it alone. Did I mention the slow cooker version? Yep, that, too. Grab it now–> The New Artisan Bread in Five Minutes a Day You grabbed it, right?
If you don’t want the free form loaves, then you absolutely must bake it in this cast iron bread pan. Cast iron does beautiful things to baked goods. I bake all of my rolls, including cinnamon rolls, in my cast iron skillets. Now you can use for bread loaves with this–> Cast Iron Lodge Loaf Pan
Because baking and home cooking is my thing and when mixed with cast iron I start to swoon, you need to check out 25+ cast iron Dutch oven recipes
Due to questions from readers I made this video to help you on your bread making journey.
You need a stretch of a few hours when you first start the dough for rise time, but you make enough to last for two weeks, depending on how much bread your family eats. My directions are slightly different from the websites, due to baking other breads.
Whenever you bake bread or anything with yeast, make sure you only use a glass, wooden, or plastic mixing bowl and utensils. If you use stainless steel, you won’t get a good rise on your dough, so just avoid it. Second, use lukewarm water about 120 degrees, dissolve your yeast, and let it stand about 10 minutes, until it’s nice and foamy.
Mix your dough, adding about a cup of flour at a time. Cover your dough with a tea towel and set it on top of the fridge (usually a draft free warm place) to rise for about 2 to 5 hours, or until the dough has risen and started to collapse. Now pop it in the fridge for either over night or at least 3 hours.
Take a chunk of dough out, it’s very wet, so lightly flour your hands, and pull it into the shape of your loaf. Dust the top with flour and slash it with a sharp knife (flour keeps your blade from sticking) and let it rise for about 40 minutes.
Place a metal broiling pan in the oven on the lowest rack and preheat to 450 degrees. Put your loaf in the oven and then quickly pour a cup of HOT water into the broiler pan and shut your oven. Bake for 45 minutes.
This bread has that awesome crunchy crust with an incredible soft flaky inside. My kids inhale it. The recipe states this makes four 1lb. loaves, but for sandwhich size loaves, it makes two. You can double or triple it and store it in the fridge for 2 weeks.
Here’s the recipe, enjoy!
Fresh Bread in Five Minutes a Day Recipe
3 cups lukewarm water or 120 degrees
1 1/2 Tablespoons yeast (store your yeast in the fridge to prolong freshness)
1 1/2 Tablespoons salt (kosher or coarse sea salt is best)
6 1/2 cups unsifted flour (I was out of bread flour and regular works just fine
1 Tablespoon apple cider vinegar
The addition of vinegar should go in when you mix the flour. It helps preserve the shelf life of the bread and adds a more airy, chewy, sourdough texture. I love it!
You’ll never miss the oil or butter, I promise.
UPDATE: I now have a pizza stone that I cook my bread on. I highly recommend one. The texture of the bread is amazing, I bake everything on my stone, cookies, rolls, bread, and of course, my white sauce chicken alfredo pizza.
If you’re like me and love the idea of baking things at home and leaving store bought things in the store, you’ll want to check out this FREE sourdough starter video and recipes. Sourdough is so versatile, it goes way beyond just bread, makes our food more healthy with fermenting, and it’s fun. This video and tutorial walks you through it step by step and offers great recipes you can start using with your sourdough starter right away.
Here’s my homemade Turkey and Dumpling Recipe, so yummy and easy. You can substitute chicken if you like.
Melissa K. Norris inspires people's faith and pioneer roots with her books, podcast, and blog. Melissa lives with her husband and two children in their own little house in the big woods in the foothills of the North Cascade Mountains. When she's not wrangling chickens and cattle, you can find her stuffing Mason jars with homegrown food and playing with flour and sugar in the kitchen.