You see them in bakeries all the time, but Artisan breads are easy to make and bake in your bread machine or with your bread machine dough-cycle.
Artisan breads are unique combinations usually defined as a blend of whole-grains and other ingredients from oatmeal to cracked wheat. The texture tends to be dense and flavorful with distinct aromas derived from the ingredients. It’s not uncommon to also see traditional bread flour combined with some of the whole or multi-grain flours. The addition of some proportion of bread flour helps with the overall rising process.
We’re going to explore three recipes some of which can be made in the bread machine and one that uses the dough-cycle and is finished in a conventional oven.
Artisan breads derive their name from unique combinations that aren’t usually found in traditional breads. They often feature visible ingredient like whole, rolled-oats both in the bread and on the crust. The textures are also a bit granular defined by cracked-wheat kernels or heavy crusts that are both flaky
and crunchy. You’ll also see molasses as a common ingredient. This gives the loaf the traditional amber color associated with many Artisan breads.
Artisanal breads originated in Europe where they were the standard fare for the everyday dinner table. Unlike some of the highly processed breads common in North America, Artisan breads usually have a crisp crust, a texture ranging from very fine to coarse, and are often a mix of different flour varieties.
The Setting is Key
Most artisanal breads in a bread machine use the “basic or white bread” setting. There are no bread machines we’ve reviewed that have an “artisan” bread setting. The basic or white bread setting usually provides a good rise and baked loaf assuming you’re added some percentage of bread flour. If you use only whole wheat or multi-grain flours without any bread flour you should select the whole wheat setting. This is not to imply that these breads are gluten free, but there is less gluten in most artisan breads than you would find in more traditional breads.
Yeast to the Rescue
I’ve found that bread-machine yeast is the best yeast for artisan breads. Active and rapid-rise yeasts don’t work as well. If at all possible, use jarred bread-machine yeast. Keep it refrigerated and use according to the directions in the recipes below. Don’t be tempted to use too much yeast. Too much yeast can cause a bread to fall or sink as much as too little.
Oatmeal Bread Recipe:
(Makes a 1.5 pound loaf)
Let’s start simple with an artisanal bread recipe that’s easy to make and gives you the look, texture and taste of a true artisan recipe. Rolled oats are the key plus a flour combination of bread flour.
- ¾ cup of water at 110ºF./43ºC.
- ¾ cup of milk at 110ºF./43ºC.
- 1 teaspoon of salt
- ¼ cup of butter at room temperature
- 1 tablespoon of dark molasses
- 1 cup of old-fashioned rolled oats plus extra to top the loaf
- 2 ½ cups of bread flour
- 2 ½ teaspoons of bread machine yeast
Add the ingredients to the bread pan in the order indicated. Select the basic or white bread setting, 1.5 pound loaf and dark crust setting. When the kneading cycle is complete sprinkle some rolled oats over the top of the dough ball.
When the baking cycle is complete remove the loaf from the bread pan and let it rest for 10 minutes. Slice and serve.
Crusty Whole-Grain Bread Recipe:
(Makes a 2.5 pound loaf when baked in the oven following the dough cycle)
What makes this bread crusty is mixing it in the bread machine and rising it and then taking it out and finishing It in the oven. Bread machines create a good crust and if you want to go from start to finish in the bread machine use the dark crust setting. We’ve going to get a bit creative and use only the dough-cycle and finishing in a conventional oven on a cookie sheet.
We’re also going to use a blend of whole grain flours to give us a multi-grain loaf. Most of the flours can be found in the specialty aisle in the grocery store rather than in the standard baking section.
- 2 cups of water at 110ºF./43ºC.
- 2 teaspoons of salt
- 2 tablespoons of canola or vegetable oil
- 2 tablespoons of dark or light molasses
- 2 cups of bread flour
- 2 cups of whole-wheat flour
- ½ cup of rye flour
- ½ cup of oat bran
- 2 ¼ teaspoons of bread machine yeast
- 2 teaspoons of anise seeds
Place all of the ingredients into the bread pan in the order indicated in the recipe and select the dough setting. Keep an eye on the dough ball during he kneading cycle. If it appears to be too dry, add a teaspoon of water at a time to achieve the desired consistency. If the dough ball appears to wet, add a teaspoon of bread flour at a time to achieve dough consistency
Butter a large baking sheet and roughly shape the dough ball into a loaf shape. Allow to rise for another 30 minutes to an hour. Preheat the oven to 375ºF./190ºC. Brush the top of the loaf with a mix of 1 egg yolk whisked with 1tablespoon of water. Bake for 1 hour or until the loaf has browned and a tap on the bottom of the loaf makes a hollow sound. Let rest for 10 minutes. Slice and serve.
Cracked Wheat Bread Recipe:
(Makes a 2 pound loaf)
Cracked wheat can be found in many grocery stores but you may have to go to the specialty aisle to find it. It’s whole kernels of wheat that have been cracked into pieces rather than ground into flour. For this recipe the cracked wheat is a partial ingredient with regular wheat flour and some bread flour. The addition of bread flour helps with the rising cycle and results in a softer texture in the loaf. The cracked wheat kernels give the bread a crunchy texture and this loaf is great for sandwiches.
- 1 1/3 cups of water plus 1 tablespoon at 110ºF./43ºC.
- 1 1⁄2 teaspoons salt
- 1 1⁄2 tablespoons butter
- 2 tablespoons honey or molasses if you want a darker color
- 2 1⁄4 cups bread flour
- 1 1⁄4 cups whole wheat flour
- 1⁄2 cup cracked wheat (or Red River Cereal)
- 2 1⁄4 teaspoons bread machine yeast
Put all of the ingredients in the bread pan in the order indicated and select the basic or white bread setting. Select 2 pound setting and medium crust. When the baking cycle is complete remove baked loaf from pan and let rest for 10 minutes. Slice and serve.