Updated: Oct 6, 2020
Servings: 1 loaf
Shelf Life of Ingredients: 1 year
This bread has a crispy golden crust with a soft interior and mild sour dough flavor. Perfect for wrapping in a dish towel, tying with a ribbon, and sharing with neighbors and friends.
After the Northridge earthquake in California, one man who lived through it stated that water was brought to the residents in large trucks, but what they really wanted was bread. Bread is a comfort food, and in an emergency we are looking for comfort. After WWII in Russia, it was said that a loaf of their dense, dark bread was worth its weight in gold.
If bread is so important to us in an emergency, that should be the first item we learn to make and store. This artisan bread recipe was first shared with me by my daughter, Melanie. We were brainstorming Christmas gifts we could make to share with our neighbors. The next thing I knew, she came for a visit carrying a bundle of kitchen towels and ribbon. Together we baked twelve loaves of artisan bread and delivered them warm to special friends and neighbors. This bread has become one of my husband's favorite bread recipes. It is easy to make and requires only four basic ingredients: unbleached flour, yeast, salt, and water. All of these ingredients can be stored easily for one year (see our blog post How to Store Grains in the education section.)
Whisk together the flour, salt, yeast.
Add the water, stirring until all the flour is incorporated in the dough. I knead the dough a little bit to incorporate all the flour.
If you have trouble working the flour in, add a little more water. Form the dough into a circular shape and sprinkle with flour. Cover dough with plastic wrap and allow to rest for 12–18 hours. I usually make the bread dough in the evening and let it sit overnight, and then bake it in the morning.
Heat oven to 450°. When the oven is warm, heat up an oven proof Dutch oven for 30 minutes.
While the Dutch oven is warming up, punch down the dough.
Sprinkle some flour on a cutting board, form the dough into a circle, and place it on the flour.
Sprinkle the top of the dough with a little bit of flour and cover with plastic wrap.
Allow the dough to rest for 30 minutes. Place the dough in the heated Dutch oven and cook covered for 20–30 minutes (bread should just be starting to brown on top.)
Take off the lid and continue to cook uncovered for 10–15 minutes longer. Bread should be golden brown.
Yield: 1 loaf.
Flour: Unbleached flour can be stored in 5 gallon food-grade buckets with resealable lids. Layer the flour with bay leaves to keep the weevils away. Grains will keep for at least a year using this method.
Yeast: I always keep my yeast in the freezer. Label it with the date bought and the date it expires so you will know how long it will last on your shelf if the power goes out. It will last at least a year if kept in the freezer.
Salt: Salt has a shelf-life of 5 years in its original store packaging on your pantry shelf.
Special Tools Needed for this Recipe
Alternative Cooking Method
See post on Dutch Oven Artisan Bread