I bumped into Artisan Bread with Steve on Youtube when I was looking for new bread recipes, and have been pretty addicted ever since. I am especially crazy about his turbo loaf that you bake in a cast iron skillet – since it’s ready in about 3 hours from start to finish – and has wonderful texture and flavor.
I love Steve’s videos: they’re very helpful, to the point and not video extravaganzas. He’s just a real guy baking great bread. Just look for Artisan Bread with Steve on youtube. He actually has a website, too: nokneadbreadcentral.com and has published couple of cookbooks that would be agreat Christmas gift for anyone who is interested in easy homemade bread.
I am including basic bread with sesame seeds that we really like, but you can add anything you like to the bread: chopped olives and rosemary, chopped walnuts and honey, or Feta with dill or whatever you can imagine*. I add lighter items like herbs and sesame seeds right at the start, and heavier things like cheese and olives after the first rise.
I also use Mel’s Kitchen Cafe’s trick of tossing in a handful of ice cubes on the bottom of the oven at the start of baking to add a little steam.
13 oz warm water
1 1/2 tsp kosher salt
1 1/4 tsp yeast
3 1/2 cups flour (Steve uses bread flour, but I’ve had great luck with AP flour, too)
1/4 cup sesame seeds divided (optional)
Warm a medium-sized metal bowl with fairly hot water for a few minutes. Then dump the water and add 13 oz. warm water, salt, yeast and about 1/2 the sesame seeds. Stir just a bit with the handle of a wooden spoon.
Add flour and stir with the handle of the wooden spoon until all the dry flour is gathered up in a nice shaggy mess. If you need to, add a spoon or so of water to help gather eveyrthing up.
Cover with a clean towel and put in the oven with the oven light on. Let rise for 90 minutes. Make sure your oven rack is in the middle.
Uncover and stir again with the wooden spoon handle to collapse the dough a little.
Once the dough is reduced, sprinkle the rest of the sesame seeds over the dough and around the edges. Turn the dough around to get sesame seeds everwhere. Then do the same thing with a spoon of flour if desired.
Spray your cast iron skillet with cooking oil, and place the loaf in the skillet. Cover with a cloth and let it rise for 15 minutes on the counter. After 15 minutes, start preheating the oven to 400 degrees. Let rise 15 more minutes.
Put skillet in hot oven, toss a handlful of ice cubes to the bottom of the oven and let bake for 40 minutes. So good and so easy!
*If you’re adding other ingredients, add them after the first rise. Just flatten the dough in the bowl and evenly sprinkle 1/4 of whatever you’re adding over it. Then just fold the dough over and repeat the process until you’ve used everything up.