I have thrown in the towel on my sourdough starter. And by that I mean it’s gone to the bakery in the sky via the garbage disposal.
While sourdough certainly has it’s merits – it’s delicious, it can be easier to digest than traditional bread, it’s a fun in a food-science-y way – it also requires more patience and commitment than baking with store-bought yeast.
To be honest, I am not committed to maintaining it, I don’t plan enough to keep it from being wasteful, and I don’t want to wait a day for bread. When I want bread, I want it today. I’m willing to start it in the morning and wait until evening, but not much longer.
For these reasons, I started looking for a bread recipe that uses store-bought yeast, but maintains the rustic vibes of sourdough. I still want the hearty, chewy, crusty texture that only comes from a handmade bread.
If that’s what you’re looking for, here it is.
This recipe is from the Homemade Artisan Bread recipe on Sally’s Baking Addiction. I’ve tried several variations of it and it hasn’t failed yet. I’ve included some of my notes and pictures from the time’s I’ve made it.
I made a traditional white loaf exactly per the directions and it was the perfect simple side.
I made a savory version with fresh rosemary, roasted garlic, and sea salt and it paired perfectly with our chicken noodle soup.
I even made a breakfast version with chopped pecans and dried mixed berries slathered in honey butter and, again, perfect.
3 1/4 cups flour – preferably bread flour. I’ve used unbleached and bleached all purpose in a pinch, but, but they will give a less hearty crumb
2 teaspoons active dry yeast
2 teaspoons coarse salt, plus more for sprinkling – kosher or sea salt work great
1 1/2 cups water – room temperature to slightly warm
Whisk together the flour, yeast, and salt, then stir in the water with a spatula. It will form a pretty shaggy dough.
Work the dough together with your hand and form it into as much of a ball as you can. It’ll be pretty sticky.
Cover it with plastic wrap and let it sit at room temperature for three hours or until it doubles in size and looks like this.
Form the dough into a ball on a floured surface. Transfer to a piece of parchment paper.
Dust it lightly with flour and score the top with a lathe or sharp paring knife.
Cover with a tea towel and let it rest another 45 minutes. Meanwhile place a Dutch oven with lid in the oven and preheat to 475*F.
After 45 minutes, brush the top of the loaf with water and sprinkle with a little more coarse salt. Transfer the salted loaf, parchment and all, to your preheated Dutch oven (carefully). Cover with a lid and bake 25 minutes.
After 25 minutes, carefully remove the lid and let the loaf bake uncovered another 10 minutes, or until it’s browned on top and sounds hollow when tapped.
Carefully remove the loaf from the Dutch oven transfer it to a wire rack to cool completely.
Slice, slather with butter, and dig in.
Berry Nut Breakfast Loaf – add 1 cup dried berries and half a cup chopped nuts (I used pecans) to the flour/yeast/salt mixture before adding the water. Follow the rest of the instructions as written.
Rosemary, Garlic, and Sea Salt – Add two teaspoons of garlic powder (roasted garlic powder if you can find it) and a tablespoon of fresh chopped rosemary to the dry mixture and use coarse sea salt for the salt called for above. Follow the instructions as written.