Nothing says “welcome” like a warm loaf of crusty bread or a basket of buttery rolls. Here are two favorites, no-knead artisan bread and brown and serve rolls that are perfect for entertaining or anytime.
Five-Minute Artisan French Bread
It really does take only 5 minutes to mix this up. I’m giving detailed instructions here, but it goes together easily. And since it’s so easy, why not let the kids help!
Use a heavy Dutch oven or Pyrex dish, anywhere from 4-7 quarts with a lid. Both have to be oven safe to 450 degrees. I use my Le Creuset pot.
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3 cups all-purpose or bread flour, plus bit more for dusting
1/4 teaspoon instant/rapid rise yeast
1-1/2 teaspoons salt
1-1/2 cups + 1 tablespoon water if using all purpose flour;
1-1/2 cups + 2 tablespoons water if using bread flour
Cornmeal or flour for dusting
Whisk flour, yeast, and salt together. Make a well in the center. Add water and stir with a spatula for about a minute, until blended. That’s all it takes, time wise. It will look wet and shaggy.
Coat the inside of a bowl with olive oil. Put the dough in the bowl and cover with wrap. Let it rise anywhere from 12 to 20 hours at room temperature. It will double in size and still look really wet.
Remove the dough and place on a flour-dusted counter. Let it rest 15 minutes.
Shape into a ball; it will be somewhat flat. Coat a cotton towel (not terry cloth) with cornmeal or flour. Place dough on a towel and cover with another towel. Let rise 1-2 hours or until doubled in size.
About 30 minutes before the bread has risen completely, preheat the oven to 450 degrees and while it’s preheating, put the pan in with the lid on.
Carefully, with mitts, take the pan out of the oven and remove the lid, again with mitts. Turn the dough over into the pot, bottom side up. Shake the pot if necessary to distribute the dough but don’t be too careful, it will bake up just fine. Cover and bake for 30 minutes.
Remove the lid and bake uncovered another 15-30 minutes, until loaf is golden brown and, if you have a thermometer, stick it into the center and it will register 210 degrees when the loaf is done. In my oven, this takes about 45-50 minutes total.
No-Knead Artisan Bread Variations
Whatever you add, do it when you first mix up the dough.
Just about anything goes, from chopped olives (about 1/2 cup) to fresh chopped herbs, like rosemary (about a palm full) or a teaspoon or so of dried herbs.
Try shredded or grated cheese (about 1/3 cup) along with a chopped jalapeno.
Add some freshly coarse ground black pepper or garlic powder. Seeds are a great addition, too. I love to add a palm full or so of flax seeds.
A friend of mine substitutes one of the cups of all-purpose or bread flour with whole wheat flour.
My Favorite Brown and Serve Rolls
Store bought rolls pale in comparison!
4-1/2 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
1/4 cup sugar
1 teaspoon salt
1 pkg active dry yeast (not instant/rapid rise)
3/4 cup very warm water, 120-130 degrees
3/4 cup very warm milk, 120-130 degrees
1/4 cup shortening, like Crisco
Butter, softened for greasing bowl and buttering rolls.
Mix 2 cups flour, sugar, salt and yeast in the bowl, using paddle attachment. Add water, milk, and shortening. Beat on low for 1 minute or so, scraping the bowl frequently. Stir in enough remaining flour, 1 cup at a time, to make a dough easy to handle.
Turn out onto a lightly floured surface and knead until smooth and elastic, about 5 minutes. Place in a greased bowl, turn to grease top. Cover and let rise in warm place about 1-1/2 hours or until double.
Punch dough down to deflate; turn onto lightly floured surface. Shape into dinner rolls by buttering 24 regular-size muffin cups, or 2 cookie sheets. I like the muffin cups. Divide dough into 4 pieces. Roll into cylinders and then cut each cylinder into 6 pieces each. You’ll get 24 pieces.
Shape each piece into a smooth ball. Place into muffin tins, brush with butter, cover and let rise about 40 minutes or until double.
Preheat oven to 275 degrees. Bake 20-30 minutes, just until dry and set but not brown. Remove from pans and cool. Place in plastic bags or foil.
Store in the refrigerator up to 1 week or in the freezer up to 2 months.
To serve, preheat oven to 400 degrees. Place on an ungreased cookie sheet and brush with butter. Bake 7-10 minutes until brown and hot.
Want To Bake Them Right Away?
If you want to serve the rolls right after rising, bake at 400 degrees for 15-20 minutes or until golden brown.