Anyone Can Make Artisan Bread

Artisan Bread

Whenever I make this bread, it comes out of the dutch oven literally crackling!  It is amazing! I make it in my Dome Lid Dutch Oven.  (By the way, check out my post about seasoning and caring for cast iron cookware HERE!)

The lid holds in the steam that comes off of the bread as it bakes, giving it a crispy crust – but the bread stays tender on the inside!

The best part about making this bread is that I don’t even have to get out my mixer!  I just stir it up with a wooden spoon, cover it and let it sit overnight. At first, I thought the dough looked too soft and sticky to bake into a nice round loaf of bread, but after it was baked, it came out pretty and round! 

Don’t be alarmed.  This is exactly what it’s supposed to look like! (This is what bakers call “slack dough.”  It’s very loose and sticky!)

Artisan Bread Dough

Here’s all you need to make 2 loaves.  

(If you only need one loaf, just cut this recipe in half.)

1 1/4 t. yeast

1 1/2 t. salt

6 1/2 c. flour

3 c. hot water (between 105° and 110°)

Just stir it all up in a big bowl with a wooden spoon, just until there are no lumps of dry flour. Leave it sticky. Cover and let rise for between 2 – 12 hours.

Artisan Bread Dough -

Notice how the dough is very loose and sticky? On a heavily floured board or counter top, pour half of the dough out of the bowl. The other half can be saved for several days in the refrigerator for the other loaf. 

Resist the urge to knead the dough, instead just pull up the sides and form it into a ball.

Artisan Bread - Dough

(It’s okay if it’s totally coated with flour!) 

Artisan Bread Dough in Cast Iron Dutch Oven

Place the ball of dough in a greased Dutch oven that has been sprinkled with a little bit of cornmeal on the bottom. Cover with the lid and allow to rest for about 2 hours.

Artisan Bread before baking

After it has risen, if desired, you can gently cut a 1/2″ deep slash or an “x” across the top using a really sharp knife.  (If the knife is dull, it will pull and tug at the dough and may cause it to deflate!)

During the last 20 minutes of the rising time, put the oven rack on the lowest level and preheat the oven to 475° (no, that’s not typo) and leave the lid on the dutch oven. Bake the loaf for 30 minutes covered. After 30 minutes, remove the lid and bake an additional 10  minutes.

Using oven mitts, carefully remove the loaf from the dutch oven and allow it to cool on a wire rack. Don’t leave it to cool in the dutch oven or it will continue baking – that cast iron really retains the heat! (At this point, when the loaf was sitting on my wire cooling rack, I could hear it making “snap, crackle and popping” noises.)  

It’s amazing how easy it is to make, but so impressive!

Anyone can make Artisan Bread-

Enjoy this crusty bread with a hot bowl of my Butternut Squash Soup or my Lasagna Soup with Bowties!  Mmmm…

Homemade Artisan Bread

***One caution:  If you are using an enamel coated dutch oven, make sure it can handle the 475° heat.  You wouldn’t want to damage the enamel coating!

33 thoughts on “Artisan Bread

    1. grandmabee Post author

      Some people bake it on a baking sheet or pizza stone, but you might want to put a pan of very hot water on the bottom rack of the oven to add moisture as it bakes. This will give it the crispy crust!

    1. grandmabee Post author

      I think it would work. The idea is that the closed pot keeps the moisture inside which creates the “crackley” crust. If you try it, I’d love to hear about your results. (It’s so inexpensive to make, so it might be worth a try!)

      1. Penny Pefley

        Great, thanks so much for your prompt reply. It is due to bake within the hour. I know it sounds like a stupid question, but I recently baked a loaf of gluten free bread where you left it in the oven while the oven was pre-heating, so appreciate the clarification.

  1. Julie

    If you let it rise for long period 6-12 hours, is that at room temperature or in refrigerator? And if it has a long rise do you need to punch it down and let it rest again before baking?

    1. grandmabee Post author

      Just allow it to sit at room temperature. Then, since it’s pretty sticky and soft, just pour it out and make it round with your hands using plenty of flour (you don’t have to punch it down…) Then allow the round ball of dough to rise a couple of hours before baking.

  2. Cbeard

    Just a note: high altitude types like me will need more water than posted to have the dough remain slack. I cut the recipe in half to make one loaf, but ended up adding close to 2 cups of water to keep the dough at the right consistency. This will vary by elevation so be aware.

  3. Linda

    Have you every baked the whole recipe at once? I fixed half a recipe with aprox 2 scant tsp of sugar in my new Lodge Kettle. It was delicious! Thought I might try the whole one for a larger loaf. Thank you for the recipe!

    1. grandmabee Post author

      I have only made 2 loaves with this recipe. I think if you were going to make a “mega” loaf, you would need a really large Dutch oven. The baking time might need to be adjusted as well.

  4. catsenior

    Have you ever made this using charcoal? How many coals would you need to get it to 475 degrees? I want to make this while we are camping but not sure if I could get the heat high enough.

    1. grandmabee Post author

      I use a capital T for tablespoon and a lower case t for teaspoon (I learned this in my home ec class in high school!)

    1. grandmabee Post author

      I have not tried it using bread flour. I think it would be okay to do. The flavor may be a little different, but it’s worth a shot! Let me know how it turns out. I love this bread!

      1. Honoree

        Thank you for adding this information! I have the PC deep dish stoneware and was hoping I could use it! I can’t wait to give this a try!

  5. diane

    I’m concerned that there is no pre-heating time for the dutch oven. Won’t it crack putting a cold vessel into a blazing 475 degree oven?

  6. EmmaH

    Won’t the hot water kill the yeast? I usually out warm water but tried hot water this time. I still haven’t seen any rise yet :/

    1. grandmabee Post author

      Good question Emma! The water should be between 105° and 110° for the yeast to activate. (I have added this to the post!)

  7. Paul Mullings

    You are totally right about this method, I have used it for many years with brilliant results. It’s fun to experiment with different flours too. The only difference, I preheat the casserole and never use oil and it never sticks

  8. Nana

    I just made this bread today. I don’t have a dutch oven so I used my CorningWare French White and it turned out perfectly! I will make again.


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