Artisan Bread

Here’s a recipe for how to make authentic artisan bread! This loaf has just the right crispy crust, soft interior, and robust flavor.

Artisan bread

Welcome to Artisan Bread 101! Want to make beautiful artisan bread but don’t want the commitment level for sourdough? This artisan bread recipe is the perfect place to start. We’re Alex and Sonja, and we created Pretty Simple Sourdough, one of the best resources on the internet for how to make sourdough bread. But to start with something a little more accessible, we created this recipe. This artisan bread recipe teaches you the skills of sourdough but with a simpler and faster method! Ready to get started?

Why to make this artisan bread recipe

Homemade artisan sourdough breads are all the rage. While it’s a simple concept, sourdough bread is notoriously sensitive and takes days to complete. It also leaves you with a sourdough starter to take care of like a pet. So Alex and I created this artisan bread recipe: simpler and faster than sourdough because it’s made with yeast! You’ll learn the skills you need to know to make sourdough and it results in one amazing loaf of artisan bread. Here’s why to make this recipe:

  • Beautiful and incredible flavor: It results in a beautiful loaf with great, robust flavor.
  • Easier than sourdough: It teaches you the skills of sourdough, but the method is less sensitive and you don’t have to maintain a sourdough starter.
  • Faster than sourdough: This recipe takes only 5 hours total, whereas sourdough you’ll make across 2.5 days.

Want an even simpler homemade bread? Try our Easy Homemade Bread or Easy Whole Wheat Bread, which are made with a loaf pan and take just 2.5 hours.

How to make artisan bread: an overview!

Here’s the basic outline of what you’re getting yourself into with artisan bread. The process takes about 4 to 5 hours total. This is pretty short for bread (our sourdough bread takes 2.5 days!) Save this for days off work when you have a long stretch of time you’ll be at home. As you’ll see, the hands on time is in short bursts. Here are the basic steps:

Mix, Proof 115 minutes active, 45 minutes hands off
Fold & Proof 22 minutes active, 45 minutes hands off
Fold & Proof 32 minutes active, 45 minutes hands off
Shape & Proof 45 minutes active, 45 to 60 minutes hands off
Bake40 minutes, hands off
Cool45 minutes, hands off
Artisan bread

Artisan bread: what you need

Making artisan bread requires some special equipment to get the job done. Here’s a list of the required tools. We’ve linked to the exact tools that we use, but you can use whatever suits you!

Required tools for this artisan bread recipe

  1. Large dutch oven OR pizza stone with steam (see below)
  2. Plastic bag for proofing (reuse it every time you make bread)
  3. 500 gram oval banneton proofing basket OR large bowl and tea towel
  4. Kitchen scale for measuring
  5. Parchment paper
  6. Lame OR sharp knife for scoring the bread
  7. Bench scraper for shaping the dough (optional)
  8. Dough whisk for quickly and easily stirring the dough mixture (optional)
Dutch oven bread | How to bake bread in a Dutch oven

The flours you’ll use

This artisan bread recipe uses a mix of 3 different types of flours. Here’s the breakdown:

  • All-purpose flour (for texture)
  • Bread flour (for strength)
  • Whole wheat flour (for flavor)

Personally, we use King Arthur brand organic flour for all three of the flours. In testing many different flours, we find it has the best and most consistent results for our sourdough bread recipe. (Some other flour brands made for a denser bread.)

Proof this artisan bread at room temp

Proofing is when you let bread dough rest after you’ve added yeast so that it rises. The proofing instructions for some breads are involved, where it’s required to have a warm place at a certain temperature for proofing. Here’s all you need to know for this artisan bread recipe:

  • Place the bread in a plastic bag or cover with plastic.
  • Leave it at room temperature. This bread is less sensitive than sourdough and other types, so the proofing temperature doesn’t have to be warm!

How to fold the dough

You’ll proof the dough a few times in the recipe, and between teach proof you’ll fold the dough. When you read the instructions in the recipe, it might sound confusing. Never fear: we’ve got video instructions! We highly recommend watching before you attempt it:

banneston

How to shape the loaf

The only other tricky part about making this artisan bread is shaping the loaf. Again, when you read the instructions in the recipe, it might sound confusing. Make sure to watch this video instruction before attempting it:

What’s a banneton? Do I need it?

The final proof for this artisan bread is in a basket called a banneton. The banneton helps to shape the bread and also makes for those lovely decorative lines on the top of the bread. You actually can use a bowl instead (see below). But the best method is a banneton (we ordered ours online). Here are a few tips about using a banneton:

  • Coat the inside in flour before baking: To ensure the bread doesn’t stick to the banneton, the inside is coated with a mix of 1/2 cup all purpose flour and 1/2 cup rice flour. We keep a container full of this mix on hand for baking days.
  • There’s no need to clean it! When it’s not in use, you can store the banneton at room temperature. There’s no need to clean the banneton; simply let it dry out after baking. After every few bakes, we scrape out any excess flour with a spoon so that you can still get those nice decorative lines in the top of the dough.

Use a large bowl instead of a banneton!

Don’t have a banneton? No problem! You can simply place a floured linen or cotton tea towel inside of a large bowl. (Don’t use a terry cloth dish towel: that type would be much too thick here!) The tea towel will help the bread to release from the inside of the bowl. It won’t be as pretty as the banneton look, but it still works.

Artisan bread

What’s a Dutch oven? Do I need it?

A Dutch oven is a heavy cooking pot with a lid that’s used for braising meat and making soups and stews. Dutch ovens can be used on the stovetop or in the oven, and they’re typically made of cast iron. Some Dutch ovens have an enamel coating over the cast iron, which makes them easier to clean.

  • Why do you need a Dutch oven for baking bread? Baking in a Dutch oven holds in the steam that the bread releases as it cooks. This makes for an ultra crispy crust!
  • What Dutch oven should I buy? Here’s the one we use for bread: Lodge 6 Quart Cast Iron Dutch Oven 
  • What else can I make in a Dutch oven? Lots of things: go to 12 Easy Dutch Oven Recipes.
  • Do I really need one for this artisan bread? No; see below.

Use a pizza stone with steam instead of a Dutch oven!

Don’t have a Dutch oven and don’t want one? You can use a pizza stone with steam. Here’s what to do:

How and why to score artisan bread

See those beautiful lines on the top of the artisan bread? Those are score lines. Why do you score artisan bread? Scoring is slashing the top of the dough with a sharp knife to allow it to expand when baking. You can also make a decorative sort of pattern on the bread (some bread bakers get very fancy). Here are a few tips for scoring artisan bread:

  • Use your sharpest knife, or a lame. You’ll want the knife to be ultra sharp. We purchased a lame for this purpose, which is a very sharp blade designed just for scoring.
  • Make shallow cuts just into the top of the dough. You want to cut just the surface — if it’s too deep it collapses, if it’s too shallow it bursts. For the look here, we made 5 slits across the top of the bread.
Artisan bread recipe sliced

Storing homemade artisan bread

Because this artisan bread has no preservatives, you’ll store it a little differently than a store-bought bread. Here’s what to know about homemade artisan bread storage:

  • Room temperature storage (2 days): Once you’ve baked your homemade bread, it is best eaten within 48 hours. We store ours wrapped in cloth at room temperature. You can use a clean dish towel; or, made a special bread bag for storage out of a large napkin. 
  • Frozen (3 months): If you don’t think you’ll eat the entire loaf in 48 hours, freeze part of the loaf! Let the artisan bread cool fully to room temperature, then cut it into slices and place it into a sealed bag or container.

This artisan bread recipe is…

Vegetarian, vegan, plant-based, and dairy free.

Print
Artisan bread

Artisan Bread (Step by Step with Videos!)


1 Star2 Stars3 Stars4 Stars5 Stars (7 votes, average: 5.00 out of 5)

  • Author: Sonja Overhiser
  • Prep Time: 4 hours
  • Cook Time: 40 minutes
  • Total Time: 5 hours
  • Yield: 12 to 14 1x
  • Diet: Vegan

Description

Here’s a recipe for how to make authentic artisan bread! This loaf has just the right crispy crust, soft interior, and robust flavor.


Scale

Ingredients

  • 200 grams all purpose flour (1 1/2 cups + 2 tablespoons)
  • 200 grams bread flour (1 1/2 cups + 2 tablespoons)
  • 50 grams whole wheat flour (6 tablespoons)
  • 4 grams instant or active dry yeast (3/4 teaspoon)
  • 10 grams kosher salt (1 1/2 teaspoons)
  • 350 grams warm water (1 1/2 cups)
  • 18 grams maple syrup or honey (1 tablespoon)
  • For dusting the banneton: 50/50 blend of rice flour and all purpose flour, for dusting the banneton

Instructions

  1. Mix the dough & rest 45 minutes at room temp: In a medium bowl, stir together flours, yeast and salt. Add the warm water and maple syrup. Stir with a wooden spoon or dough whisk until flour is fully incorporated into raggy dough. Place the bowl in a proofing bag or cover with plastic wrap and rest for 45 minutes.
  2. Fold the dough & Proof 1 for 45 minutes at room temp: With wet hands, lift one side of the dough straight up so that it stretches and fold it across the center; turn the bowl a quarter turn and repeat 4 times. Lift up the dough and wrap it onto itself until you have a smooth surface, then flip it over and place it in the bowl seam side down. Tip: Watch these video instructions for folding the dough (4:26 to 4:37). Place bowl in a proofing bag or cover with plastic wrap and rest for 45 minutes.
  3. Fold the dough & Proof 2 at room temp: Fold the dough again in the same manner and rest 45 minutes.
  4. Shape the dough, place it in the banneton, and rest for 45 to 60 minutes at room temp: Prepare the banneton by rubbing the 50/50 rice flour mixture into all of the grooves of the banneton. Remove the dough from the bowl onto a lightly floured counter. Rub just enough flour onto the top of the dough so that it isn’t tacky. Use the bench scraper to flip the dough so that the floured side is down. Gently stretch the dough into a rectangle. Moving quickly, fold the top third of the dough down, and the bottom third up to create a packet. Rotate the dough 90 degrees and gently roll it into a log shape. Be careful to not press the dough or deflate it. Use your hands to gently pull the dough tight and pinch off the seams at the end of the dough. Rub a little more flour onto the top of the dough so that it isn’t tacky. Gently flip the dough into the banneton and pinch off the bottom seam. Tip: Watch the video instructions for shaping the dough (7:54 to 8:50). Place the banneton into the proofing bag and proof 45 to 60 minutes, until doubled in size.
  5. Preheat the Dutch oven: Preheat the Dutch oven at 475°F for 30 minutes.
  6. Place on parchment, score, and bake for 16 minutes in Dutch oven: When the dough is proofed, put a piece of parchment paper the width of your banneton. Gently invert the banneton onto the parchment paper and reach your hand into the basket to release it from the banneton. Try not to deflate the dough. Using a lame or sharp knife, cut several shallow slits at angle across the top of the dough. If desired, use a fine mesh sieve to dust the bread with a bit of flour. As quickly as possible, remove the lid from the Dutch oven and carefully place the parchment paper with dough into the Dutch oven. Cover it and set the timer for 16 minutes.
  7. Place the bread on the oven rack, reduce to 400°F and bake for 23 to 25 minutes: After 16 minutes, reduce the oven temperature to 400°F. Remove the Dutch oven, carefully take out the bread, and set the bread directly onto the oven rack. Bake for an additional 23-25 minutes, until hollow when tapped or internal temperature is at 205 to 209 Fahrenheit. Remove the bread from the oven and allow it to cool on a cooling rack for at least 45 minutes. After cooling, the bread is ready to eat. Store the bread wrapped in cloth or in a bread bag on the counter for up to 2 days, or freeze (sliced) wrapped in foil in a plastic bag for several months.

  • Category: Bread
  • Method: Baked
  • Cuisine: French

Keywords: Artisan Bread

Subscribe for free weekly recipes & more!

About the Authors

Sonja Overhiser

Cookbook Author and writer

Sonja Overhiser is author of Pretty Simple Cooking, named one of the best healthy cookbooks of 2018. She’s host of the food podcast Small Bites and founder of the food blog A Couple Cooks. Featured from the TODAY Show to Bon Appetit, Sonja seeks to inspire adventurous eating to make the world a better place one bite at a time.

Alex Overhiser

Cookbook Author and photographer

Alex Overhiser is an acclaimed food photographer and author based in Indianapolis. He’s host of the food podcast Small Bites and founder of the recipe website A Couple Cooks. Featured from the TODAY Show to Bon Appetit, Alex is author of Pretty Simple Cooking, named one of the best vegetarian cookbooks by Epicurious.

4 Comments

  • Reply
    Cheryl Babic
    March 22, 2020 at 11:18 pm

    Being a Hoosier….I’m Curious why your recipe is in metric measurements?

    • Reply
      Alex Overhiser
      March 23, 2020 at 8:07 pm

      Baking in grams is our standard practice for consistent results. I added the cup conversions as well!

  • Reply
    Bether Weiss
    June 4, 2020 at 9:03 am

    This recipe is a hit in our house but when the loaf cools, the crust isn’t as firm or thick as your sourdough recipe. I have followed the recipe to the tee but am wondering if I am doing something wrong. Any thoughts or is this the nature of this loaf?

    • Reply
      Alex Overhiser
      June 4, 2020 at 11:39 am

      Hi! The crust on this one isn’t super crispy, but you could definitely bake it a few extra minutes on the second portion of the bake for a crustier crust :)

    Leave a Reply

    This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.