I’ve shied away from baking because I live by myself and find that every time I bake I wind up with a whole cake, a tray of brownies, 2 loaves of bread etc. etc. which I always feel obligated to eat. So I eat it all (self control issues), feel guilty and decide to take a step back from baking again. To break this circle I’ve come up with an easy solution. Gifts! Dinners! I pawn off all of my leftovers on my friends. I get to practice some new skills that I enjoy and in the end I am a hero for gifting baked goods. Win win! This bread is referred to as the gateway bread because once you master it you get the confidence to move onto the harder stuff…
The “Gateway” Artisan Loaf
Prep time: 4 hours, 15 mins (including resting time)
Cook time: 45 mins
Total time: 5 hours
Yield: 2 loaves of bread
- 1000 g all purpose flour
- 700 g room temperature water
- 50 g warm water
- 5 g dry active yeast
- 22 g salt
Stir flour and room temperature water in a mixer until well combined. This will create elastic dough. Let rest for 15mins-1 hour. This technique is called autolyse and is a way to hydrate the flour and form gluten without over oxidizing it by kneading too much.
Combine warm water and yeast in a small bowl. Add this mixture along with the salt to the now hydrated flour/water dough. Mix until dough is consistent, elastic and bouncy. Let rise for 30 minutes then gently deflate, stretch, and fold the dough to redistribute the yeast and develop more flavour. Let sit for another 1.5 hours or until doubled in size.
Divide the dough in two equal parts and pre-shape into 2 boules (spheres). To do this grab one piece in both hands and start to stretch the surface of the dough underneath the ball, rotating as you go. This will be the final shape of your loaves. Let rest one final time before baking until dough doubles in size again (approximately 1.5 hours).
Dust the top of each loaf liberally with flour and then slash the top with a knife a quarter inch deep. Place your bread in a pre-heated Dutch oven at 500 F. Cover with the lid and bake for 15 minutes, then lower the temperature to 500 F and bake for an additional 15 minutes. Uncover, and bake for 15 more minutes or until crust is nicely brown and firm.
Now go buy a new timer because yours is probably broken from overuse.