Artisan bread is common in bakeries, but baking artisan bread at home is simple by using your bread machine.
Artisan bread is one-of-a-kind combinations of whole grains and other ingredients ranging from oatmeal to cracked wheat. The texture is dense and flavorful, with distinct aromas from the ingredients. It’s not uncommon to see traditional bread flour mixed with whole or multi-grain flour—the addition of a small amount of bread flour aids in the overall rising process.
Artisan bread gets its name from unusual flavor combinations that aren’t commonly found in traditional bread. They frequently include visible ingredients such as whole, rolled oats in the bread, and the crust. The textures are also a little granular, defined by cracked-wheat kernels or flaky, crunchy crusts. Molasses is a common ingredient as well. This imparts the loaf with the traditional amber color of many Artisan bread.
Artisan bread originated in Europe, where they were commonplace at the dinner table. Unlike some of the highly processed bread commonly found in North America, Artisan bread typically has a crisp crust, a texture ranging from very fine to coarse. It is frequently made with a combination of different flour varieties.
The setting is critical.
Most artisan bread is made using the “basic or white bread” setting in a bread machine. We haven’t found any bread machines that have an “artisan” bread setting. If you add some bread flour, the basic or white bread setting usually produces a good rise and baked loaf. If you only use whole wheat or multi-grain flours and no bread flour, use the whole wheat setting. This is not to say that these bread are gluten-free, but most artisan breads contain less gluten than more traditional bread.
Yeast Comes to the Rescue
We’ve discovered that the best yeast for artisan bread is bread-machine yeast. Active and rapid-rise yeasts are less effective. Use jarred bread machine yeast if at all possible. Keep it refrigerated and use it as directed in the recipes below. Don’t be tempted to overuse the yeast. Too much yeast can cause a loaf of bread to fall or sink just as much as too little yeast.
Artisan bread recipes in bread machine
We’ll look at three recipes, two of which can be made in a bread machine and one that uses the dough cycle and is finished in a conventional oven.
Oatmeal Bread Recipe
(Makes a 1.5 pound loaf)
Let’s start with a simple artisan bread recipe with an actual artisan recipe’s look, texture, and taste. The key ingredients are rolled oats and a flour mixture 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
In the order listed, add the ingredients to the bread pan. Choose between basic or white bread, a 1.5-pound loaf, and a dark crust. After the kneading cycle is finished, sprinkle some rolled oats on top of the dough ball.
After the baking cycle is finished, remove the loaf from the bread pan and set it aside for 10 minutes to cool. Cut into slices and serve.
Crusty Whole-Grain Bread Recipe
(When baked in the oven after the dough cycle, this recipe yields a 2.5-pound loaf.)
The crusty of this bread is achieved by mixing it in the bread machine, rising it, and then finishing it in the oven. Bread machines produce a good crust, and if you want to use the bread machine from start to finish, use the dark crust setting. We’re going to get a little creative and only use the dough cycle, finishing in a conventional oven on a cookie sheet.
We’ll also make a multi-grain loaf with a blend of whole-grain flours. The majority of the flours can be found in the grocery store’s specialty aisle rather than 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
01. Place all of the ingredients in the bread pan in the order specified in the recipe, and bake on the dough setting. During the kneading cycle, keep an eye on the dough ball. If it appears too dry, add a teaspoon of water at a time until the desired consistency is reached. If the dough ball seems to be too wet, add a teaspoon of bread flour at a time until the dough is the desired consistency.
02. Butter a large baking sheet and shape the dough ball roughly into a loaf shape. Allow for another 30 minutes to an hour for the temperature to rise. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees Fahrenheit/190 degrees Celsius. Brush the top of the loaf with a mixture of 1 egg yolk and one tablespoon water. Bake for 1 hour, or until the loaf is golden brown and a tap on the bottom makes a hollow sound. Allow for a 10-minute rest. Cut into slices and serve.
Cracked Wheat Bread Recipe
(Makes a 2 pound loaf)
Cracked wheat can be found in most grocery stores, but it may be in the specialty aisle. It is made from whole wheat kernels that have been cracked into pieces rather than ground into flour. In this recipe, cracked wheat is combined with regular wheat flour and some bread flour as a partial ingredient—the addition of bread flour aids in the rising cycle and results in a softer loaf texture. The cracked wheat kernels add a crunchy texture to the bread, making it ideal 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
01. Place all of the ingredients in the bread pan in the order listed, and bake on the basic or white bread setting. Choose the 2-pound setting and the medium crust.
02. When the baking cycle is finished, remove the baked loaf from the pan and set it aside for 10 minutes to cool. Cut into slices and serve.