I was inspired for today's bread by the recipe and the story in Cook with a smile blog and while browsing through other Bulgarian blogs on Artisan bread it sort of amazed and amused me how similar all of our memories related to this delicious bread are. In my local shop in town I remember that only two types of fabric made bread were sold - bread from white wheat and from whole wheat flour. But in the village of my grandparents there was a local bakery that still baked hand-made artisan bread - with crispy crust and soft inside, that was so-o delicious. I remember waiting in line for the bread to be taken out of the oven. I remember the smell that made our mouths water in anticipation and eating almost half a loaf of still hot bread together with my cousin before getting back to my granny's :)))
Nowadays shops are full with an abundance of all kinds of bread and there are plenty of local bakeries that actually make better bread than me, but that delicious smell in the kitchen and that feeling that this bread came out of my hands - nothing can replace that. So I continue to bake ...
The recipe for Artisan bread is very simple, mine is sort of a compilation of several recipes and instructions I read on the net:
- 400 g white flour
- 300 g warm water
- 1 tsp Himalayan salt
- 5 g instant dry yeast
Mix the ingredients in a bowl with a spoon, you'll get quite moist and sticky dough. Cover the bowl with stretch-foil and leave in a warm place for 12 to 18 hours to rise and ripen. I made the dough about 6 PM yesterday evening and started making the bread this morning at about 10 AM - so that's some 16 hours for rising. This is how the dough looked in the morning - all bubbly and sticky. I took it out of the bowl and lightly kneaded it with plenty of flour to form it into a ball. Then I placed the ball in a slightly greased heat-proof glass pot, covered it and left it to rise again for about an hour.
When the dough had doubled its volume, I covered it with flour and made four cuts for the steam. My cuts turned to be too shallow, they should be at least 5-6 mm deep.
While the dough was rising, I turned the oven on at 230C for 20 min to preheat it. Then I placed the pot and a bowl of water at the bottom of the oven. I baked the bread covered for 45 min and additional 15 min after removing the lid, to get the hard crispy crust Artisan bread is known for.
And here it is - my deliciously smelling well baked loaf of bread.
I left it cool on a rack for 10 min. This bread is not cut with a knife - you just break pieces of warm bread, cover it with butter and mixed spices, add some white cheese, bite into it and enjoy the moment :)
Having tasted it, hubby stated that I needn't bother with other recipes - I could simply stick to this one and he would be completely happy :) But I'm still on the learning curve of baking, still curious to try new things, so I've already picked my next recipe - a round bread with hard yellow cheese ;)