Living Bread - An Artisan Bread Recipe for the Home Kitchen

Tom and Louise Tuffin from Arabesque Breads and Spokane Farmers' Market fame have put together a home recipe for Artisan Bread. They did their best to convert their large batch recipe to something on the scale of home kitchen. Tom let me know that the salt and yeast amounts may need to be adjusted. He's going to do it at home and let me know if the recipe needs to be changed. Here goes.

Stage 1: Make "chef" or "biga"

  • 5 cups flour
  • 3 cups cold water
  • 1 heaping tbls Natural Starter (see below for Natural Starter recipe)
  • 1.5 tsp yeast
  • Process: Mix above ingredients and let stand for 3-5 hours in a covered bowl or bucket. Hint: Thoroughly mix with whisk 1/2 cup flour w/ 3 cups water, natural starter and yeast. Let stand in mixing bowl 3-5 minutes to develop yeast culture. Then mix in rest of the flour.

Stage 2: Make dough

  • 5 cups flour
  • 3 cups tepid water
  • 1.5 tsp yeast
  • 1 heaping tbls natural starter
  • 1 tbls salt or to taste
  • Process: Repeat process above with 1/2 cup flour from your 5 cups total to develop yeast and culture, add another half cup flour with salt and thorougly mix again. Add remaining ingredients and all of the "chef" from above and mix until combined. (A mixer with a bread hook will do the job.) Put finished dough in a covered bowl/bucket or tub to rise. Every 10-15 minutes fold gently corner to corner 5-10 times (notice how the dough stiffens). At approx. 30-45 minutes the dough will be ready to form the loaves. Hard kneading is not necessary (Yay!) The variable of folding and rising time will determine the crumb and texture of the bread. Divide into loaves by gently forming and score the top with a knife using a shallow angled cut. Allow medium sized loaves to rise for 20-30 minutes. Bake at 350-375 degrees until the internal temp of the bread is 200-210 degrees. This should take approx. 20-25 minutes.

Other Things to Consider:

  • Allow bread to cool 6 hrs before refrigerating or freezing. Hint: Pre-slice bread before freezing so that you can just take out what you need and preserve freshness.
  • Tom always includes some of the dough from the previous batch in making the chef. He includes it as 20% of the total of the chef -which in this recipe would mean adding roughly 1.5 cups of previous dough into the mix. This dough needs to be used within 7 days or it gets a little funky.
  • Natural Starter is like a Sourdough Starter but uses only the natural bacterias occurring in the air. To make a starter take 1 cup course pumpernickel rye flour, 1/2 cup regular pumpernickel rye, 1/2 cup unbleached flour, and 1 cup water and combine ingredients. Let this sit around for a couple of days and it will start starting. Higher temps above 72 degrees make it more yeasty and lower temps 63-67 degrees make it more sour. Every 2-3 days replenish it by dividing in half and adding the same ratio of initial ingredients. In talking with Tom I get the feeling this takes experimentation and trial and error. Don't be afraid to mess up. Tom also adds some oats in there every other time he divides the starter.

Tom and Louise sell their breads at the Spokane Farmers' Market downtown on Saturdays and Wednesdays, Millwood Farmers' Market on Wednesday afternoons, South Perry Farmers' Market on Thursday afternoons, and the Community Roots Market on Sundays. Go here for the opening day schedule for the markets.