So, I’ve been really into making my own Artisan Bread whenever I can. It may sound laborious or unnecessary, but I must say, surprisingly, it is not. You will see it is well worth the time and effort to make these treats for you and your family. Let’s start with the butter, and head back to my Aunt Rachel’s in Vermont. Rachel always had the most delicious, spreadable butter on hand in her fridge, and I just loved it. For the past year or so, I’ve been making canola butter and my refrigerator is never without it. You take three simple ingredients; butter, canola oil, and salt and whip until you can’t whip any longer.
It is well worth it for an easy spread when making grilled cheese sandwiches, to spread on a bagel, toast, pancakes, I could go on and on, but then again, I could put butter on just about anything. For those who are opposed to canola oil, I’m sure you could use avocado oil, grape seed oil, almond oil, etc. I never have used a different oil, but if you do, let me know how it turns out.
- 2 sticks good quality butter (1 cup), room temperature
- 3/4 cup canola oil
- 1/2 teaspoon salt (if not using salted butter)
Put butter in bowl of stand mixer, fitted with the whisk attachment, and whip on medium high for about 5 minutes or until mixture is fluffy and pale yellow. You will need to scrap the sides every so often to make sure everything is well blended.
Next, with the mixer on low, add the salt, and slowly add the canola oil. Turn the speed up, and whip on medium high speed for another 5 minutes or so, until mixture is light and fluffy (fluffier!) Don’t forget to scrap the sides.
Disclaimer: I was told equal parts butter to oil, I just liked the consistency of using a little less oil. Go with what you feel! Also, you may not want to make the bread and butter the same day since they both use the stand mixer, and the butter needs a night in the refrigerator to firm up before you enjoy, but if you do, I suggest making the butter first.
Now onto the bread!
My cousin Jennie and her son Berkley came out to Michigan to visit for a week this summer, and while they were here she introduced me to this amazingly simple and delicious bread. Now I make it at least twice a month. It takes a few simple ingredients, a dutch oven, very little effort, and in a couple of hours you have homemade artisan bread. Let’s get baking!
- 1 1/2 cups lukewarm water
- 1 packet of yeast (2 1/4 teaspoons)
- 3/4 Tablespoon kosher salt
- 3 1/4 cups Unbleached All-Purpose Flour, more for shaping
makes one loaf, double and divide into two loaves, or make one large loaf (pictured above)
Add yeast and warm water to the bowl of your stand mixer, fitted with dough hook, and stir on low for a few seconds. Add flour and salt to the water and yeast and stir on low until you can ensure that you will not get flour all over you, then you turn up the speed. Stir until the dough is combined, which take a couple minutes. The dough is typically very sticky (more so on humid days) and still tends to stick to the sides of the bowl, don’t worry, you can add a touch more flour if you feel that it is too sticky. After the flour is fully incorporated, stop the mixer, peel the dough off the hook, remove the hook, and with wet hands (shaped like a shovel) scoop the dough off the sides and bottom of the bowl. Leaving the dough in the bowl, place a towel over the bread and let it rise for 2 hours at room temperature or 5 hours in the refrigerator.
After the dough has risen preheat the oven to 450 degrees with your dutch oven (top and all) inside the oven. I use my 5 1/2 quart Le Creuset. Once the oven is preheated wait an additional 20 minutes before putting the dough into the dutch oven.
Spread a generous about of flour onto the counter and remove the dough. Generously sprinkle flour on the top of the dough, form into a round loaf, and with a serrated knife, make three cuts (not too deep) into the dough (you can do any design you want here and don’t have to limit yourself to three cuts).
Once the pan is heated (preheated plus an additional 20 minutes) plop the well floured dough into the hot dutch oven, put the top on and bake for 20 minutes. After 20 minutes, remove the top and bake for 10 more minutes.
Once the bread is baked remove from the dutch oven onto a cutting board, wait a good 10 to 15 minutes before slicing and enjoy!
The first time I made this without my cousins supervision, she did have to go home eventually, I preheated the oven to 350 degrees, didn’t wait an additional 20 minutes of heating the dutch oven, realized shortly after putting the bread in the oven that the oven needed to be at 450 degrees, turned up the oven and baked for a little longer than 30 minutes, and the bread still was delicious. I guess what I’m trying to say is that this bread/dough is forgiving!
Here is a picture of my first attempt at this bread (wrong temp and all).