Artisan bread sounds like a fancy name for a bread. It sounds like it would be something you find in a quaint little bakery that’s actually run by the bakers themselves. Actually, this is partly true. The true definition of the term “artisan” is a craftsperson or a skilled worker. So let’s just say that if you’ve ever made bread at home, you’ve made an artisan bread.
In the professional bakery sense of the term, an artisan bread is a bread made by a craftsperson using largely traditional techniques. It is assumed that such a bread is mostly made by hand. However many artisanal bakeries use mixers, hydraulic dividers, and molders so the amount of hands on craftsmanship is more of a streamlined process. Naturally, there is a lot of argument in artisan bakeries about where the line should be drawn between artisanal bread and artisanal-style bread. The bakers who do everything by hand draw the line differently than the bakers who use lots of automated help.
In either case, the perception of artisan bread is a bread with a more authentic and more complex texture.
This recipe is a true gem when it comes to gluten free artisan breads. Be forewarned, there is a proofing process for this bread. But it is not necessary. Basically, you can mix the dough and allow it to proof for up to 7 days OR you can mix the dough and proceed with baking it that same day. The choice is yours. If you do elect to bake it the same day, you will not need the 1st resting time. And, like with other gluten free recipes, the flour combination has been tweaked and modified, but feel free to try your own flour preferences.
GLUTEN FREE ARTISAN BREAD
2 cups brown rice flour
1 1/2 cups sorghum flour
3 cups tapioca flour
2 tablespoons yeast
1 tablespoon kosher salt (increase or decrease to taste)
2 tablespoons xanthan gum
2 2/3 cups lukewarm water
4 large eggs, whisked together
1/3 cup neutral-flavored oil or 1/3 cup olive oil
2 tablespoons honey, corn syrup or sugar
All ingredients should be at room temperature before starting (except the warm water).
Mixing the dough for proofing and/or baking:
Whisk together the flours, yeast, salt and xanthan gum in a 5-quart lidded round food storage container or the mixing bowl of your stand mixer (a stainless steel metal mixing bowl is fine).
In a small bowl, combine the oil, honey and water and set it aside.
Add the eggs into the dry ingredients and then stir while you pour in about 1/3 of the oil and water. (Make sure to do this gradually otherwise the dough will become very lumpy).
Continue to stir while you pour in another 1/3 of the liquid; the dough will start to come together and become very thick.
NOTE: You can use your stand mixer for these steps with your bread hook rather than stirring the dough ingredients by hand.
Add the final 1/3 of liquid and stir until the dough is nice and smooth. Cover the container with the lid, but do not seal it completely. Allow it to rest on the counter for about 2 hours.*
Place the dough in the refrigerator and store for up to 7 days.
*NOTE: If you are going to bake your bread immediately after making it, do not let it rest. Instead, skip all the way down to step 5 where you place it on the paper and shape it.
On the day you want to bake your bread, take the bowl out of the refrigerator. The dough will be quite fluffy. Handle the dough the least amount possible. Just like our other gluten free doughs, the trick is to keep as much of the air bubbles intact as possible.
Using WET HANDS, remove a 1-pound (grapefruit-size) piece of dough from the bucket. The dough will be quite scraggly when you take it out.
In order to not handle the dough too much you can even scoop it out of the bucket with a slightly wet metal spoon.
Place the dough on a piece of parchment paper.
Use wet hands to smooth out the surface of the dough and shape it as desired. DO NOT KNEAD. This may take dipping your hands in the water a few times…to get a nice shape. Gently smooth it out with wet hands into the shape you want. (If you’re baking immediately after mixing, you will not experience this).
Cover the dough loosely with plastic wrap (you might need to spray the wrap first with cooking spray to prevent it from sticking to the dough).
Allow it to rest on the counter for about 90 minutes. If your kitchen is very warm you may only need about 75 minutes. *See note about preheating if using option B baking method.
The dough may not have grown much while resting, but it will seem a little bit puffier. Use a serrated knife to design the top of your bread.
Option A) Bake it on a stone or cookie sheet. Preheat the oven to 450 degrees F. Place the parchment paper with the dough on the stone or cookie sheet. Place a pan (not glass) of hot water under the baking stone or sheet at least 4 inches away. Bake for 30 minutes.
Option B) Bake it in a Dutch oven. *Preheat the oven with a 5 1/2 quart Dutch oven insert to 500 degrees 30 minutes before baking time.* (Be sure it is fitted with a metal Replacement Knob, the original plastic knobs can only be heated to about 400 degrees.)
Remove the pot from the oven and take off the lid.
Lift the bread on the parchment and VERY CAREFULLY lower the parchment and bread into the pot, replace the lid onto the pot.
Return to the oven and bake for 20 minutes.
After 20 minutes remove the lid, turn the heat down to 450F and bake for an additional 15 minutes.
COOL THE BREAD:
Once the bread is done baking, remove it from the pot using a spatula or from the stone/cookie sheet and transfer to a baking rack to cool.
ALLOW THE BREAD TO COOL COMPLETELY before eating. This is important otherwise, the center may seem gummy.