Saturday, April 05, 2008

Artisan-ish bread....

I've been baking bread for 26 years and there's still so much to learn! Especially nowadays when all the rage is artisan breads..... those crisp-on-the-outside, chewy-on-the-inside loaves that you can buy from your fine, local bakeries. I don't have a fine, local bakery so I have to BE THE BAKERY instead. Clarice, from Storybook Woods sic'd me onto a great little recipe that's so easy to make and the results are very artisan, don't you think? The recipe comes from Jeff Hertzberg, author of Artisan Bread in Five Minutes a Day. The title sounds catchy, doesn't it? And it's fairly true, except that you really have to be "around" to make bread. This Deli-Style Rye recipe really makes a great little bread. Tasty, easy-to-make, pretty to look at, and mostly healthy. (Isn't anything healthier than that gooey store bread that you can squeeze down to the size of a gum ball?)

Give this recipe a shot. It's worth your time, and really, it isn't a lot of fuss like most people think bread-making is. A few notes here.....I don't have a pizza peel or bakinig stone, but the instructions allow for that. I used a parchment-lined cookie sheet. The other thing I found was that if you give the dough a day or more in the frig, you will get better rising results on your loaves when you bake them. I made my first loaf the day I made the dough, but made two other loaves a few days later and they raised much better than the first. I also added 2 T. olive oil to the dough. I think it makes a more tender crumb. Oh, and one more little change-a-roo I made was to use an egg white wash (1 egg white whisked with a tablespoon of water) for the top. The seeds and things stick better with this way. (I can't help it, I always mess with a recipe!)

One more thing to add before I sign off. Last night I made the most terrific recipe for a Reuben sandwich that we've ever had! It's a Rachael Ray recipe called Jumbo Reuben Loaf and the good takes only 30 minutes or less to make! I used the two loaves you see here for my bread and it was truly delish! My Hub always makes the comment, "How much would this cost you at a restaurant?" whenever he really likes the chow. And yep, he said it last night! I'm copying the recipe here because Food Network takes so long to download. One note about this recipe, I don't like the spices in my cabbage/kraut, so I omitted everything except the nutmeg. I also used balsamic vinegar (only 1-2 T.) instead of the red wine vinegar. We didn't make the sauce for the sandwich. YUM-O!

Jumbo Reuben Loaf
Recipe courtesy Rachael Ray
30 Minute Meals

2 tablespoons vegetable oil
1 bay leaf
2 cloves garlic, crushed
1 small (1 1/2 pounds) red cabbage, quartered, cored and shredded
2 whole cloves
1 cinnamon stick
1/2 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
2 tablespoons grill seasoning (recommended: Montreal Steak Seasoning by McCormick)
3 tablespoons dark brown sugar
1/4 cup red wine or cider vinegar
1 large pumpernickel, rye or sourdough bread from bakery counter
1/2 pound deli sliced corned beef
1/2 pound deli sliced smoked turkey
1/2 pound deli sliced pastrami
1/2 pound sliced Swiss cheese
1/2 cup sweet pickle relish
1 cup chili sauce

Heat a large nonstick skillet over medium high heat. To very hot skillet add vegetable oil, bay, garlic, cabbage, cloves, cinnamon stick and nutmeg. Cook, stirring frequently, 5 minutes, then add in the grill seasoning and brown sugar and toss to coat. Add vinegar, cook off 2 minutes then remove from heat and let stand. Remove bay leaf and cinnamon stick.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
Cut 1 inch off bread across the whole loaf to remove the top. Remove the soft insides of the bread to form a bread bowl. Pile half the cabbage into base of the bread. Fill bread with meats and Swiss cheese. Place filled bread into the oven to melt the Swiss. Top melted cheese with the remaining seared pickled cabbage. Slather the top with sweet pickle relish mixed with chili sauce and set bread top into place. The loaf will appear whole and empty to the eye. Pack to travel or serve on cutting board. Cut the loaf into 6 sections and serve.

"How can a nation be great if its bread tastes like Kleenex?"
~Julia Child


  1. I love to bake my own bread.

    One question - what does artisan bread mean?

  2. Britt Arnhild,
    Artisan bread is bread made "artfully." In other words, it is not mass-produced like our breads in plastic sacks on the grocery store shelves. Artisan breads are made from very few ingredients: water, salt, flour, yeast, a little oil sometimes, unlike grocery store loaves that can have upwards of 25 ingredients and additives. Artisan loaves are usually allowed to ferment longer than traditional loaves of bread, giving them a sour dough flavor and texture. They are also baked a little differently, in very hot ovens with steam. If you click over to the recipe I linked to, it is a perfect example of an artisan bread. Also, you might enjoy the entire site: for more tips and tricks in making artisan breads. Really Britt, I think you and I have been making artisan breads all along and never knew it! We bake in small batches with basic ingredients. You didn't know you were a bread artist too, did you?


  3. Ohh your bread looks perfect. I just made his olive oil bread. I will let you know how it was. I am having soo much fun with all of this. I am glad you tried it. Have a lovely Saturday. Love Clarice

  4. Jody, this looks wonderful!

    Everything sounds so good-- you make me want to head straight for my kitchen! :-)

    And I love the hilarious Julia Child quote.

    Susan L (I've tried to post here many times, and this is the first time I've gotten this box to open, so lets see if this will go through!)

  5. Oh my goodness! My top-secret blog link automatically came through when I posted! I didn't know it would do that. Oh, well.

    Susan L

  6. This bread is delicious! I made it right away when Clarice posted it. I had three boys to experiment with and they ate a loaf and 1/2! Taste best when warm! It was fun to make!

    Your bread looks so yummy! Thanks for the Reuben recipe. Dh will love it!:)


  7. Great job, Jody! Your bread looks wonderful! I need to get my paws on Clarice's book and try these recipes. Oohhhh and man, do I LOVE a good Reuben. It's definitely my very favorite sandwich.
    Hope you're staying warm-

  8. That Julia Child quote is a hoot!

    I make my own bread - a very simple plain recipe that my MIl and my husband's grandmother made- and probably many generations back.

    I sympathize with you on spring - ours are like that too - although today is SUNNY! But I'm not harbouring any false notions that it's here to stay yet...

    I'm going to check out that bread site - thanks for the tips Jody!

  9. I've been seeing that book alot and I really want to try it! And did you know there is an errata sheet for it? Maybe it contains a secret as to why your first loaf didn't rise so high... ;-)


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