Make This Super Easy Artisan Bread with Your Bread Machine
By Dennis Weaver
Artisan breads can be long, complicated affairs. This one isn’t! And you can make it with this Italian Country Bread Mix. It’s easier than making bread in a bread pan.
Use the dough setting on your machine, pull the dough into a “log” and cut it in two. Let it rise and sprinkle it with flour and water just before putting it in the oven. That’s all there is to it. And it’s a great artisan bread.
The Artisan Bread that is Not a Ciabatta Bread
This artisan bread looks like ciabatta bread, but it isn’t. It doesn’t have the labyrinth of big open holes in the crumb. But it does have an open crumb and a fantastic chewy crust. And like a good artisan bread, you can taste the country sour. (Okay, the secret is that we have a dry sour in the mix—a pre-ferment.)
You’ll blow away your family and friends with this simple bread.
Mix the bread according to package instructions using the dough setting. The cycle is 1 1/2 hours in most machines. Let the dough set in the machine for another 30 minutes while it rises.
Line an 11x17-baking sheet with parchment paper. Put a heavy dusting of flour over the parchment paper.
Lightly dust your countertop with flour. Dump the dough onto the countertop and pat and pull dough into a flat, rough log 5 inches wide by about 18 inches in length.
Cut the log horizontally in two pieces to make two loaves. Place each loaf on the prepared sheet pan to rise. Place the pan in a proofing bag or cover it with plastic.
Let the bread rise for 1 ½ hours at room temperature. It should triple in size. If your kitchen is cool, consider setting the bagged dough in front of the window to pick up a little solar heat.
Twenty minutes before baking, preheat the oven to 425°F. If you have a baking stone, place that in the oven to heat.
When you’re ready to bake, generously dust the loaves with flour from a flour shaker for an even dusting and sprinkle, or mist, some water on the bread. Place the sheet with the loaves on the baking stone or on the rack if you are not using a stone. Bake for 20 to 25 minutes or until the crust turns a deep golden brown.
Turn the oven off, prop the door open about five inches and let the bread cool for at least 15 minutes.
Baker’s Note: If you don't have a bread machine, you can make this marvelous bread with a stand-type mixer. Use your dough hook and knead the bread for at least ten minutes on medium high. The dough will be sticky. Cover and let it rise for at least an hour. Then put the dough on the counter and proceed from there.