Fourteen Year Old Bakes Crusty Artisan Bread

My 14 year old son has always taken an interest in baking and cooking. It is funny though as not many people give him credit for that, including his big sister who often underestimates his capabilities in the kitchen. Seb is a bit of a dark horse though, he has good skills and often surprises.

I handed him a bread recipe yesterday and told him to get to work. He did a fabulous bread and accepted no help whatsoever.

This is what he made…

Crusty Artisan Bread


600g strong white flour

1 tablespoon dried milk

1 teaspoon caster sugar

3.5 teaspoons instant yeast (1.5 sachets)

2 teaspoons salt

350ml warm water

2 tablespoons olive oil


Weigh out your flour and sprinkle over the milk powder, sugar and olive oil.

Mix the yeast and salt into the warm water first. Then add this mix the flour and use your mixer with attached dough hooks to knead it all together.

When the dough starts to leaves the side of the bowl clean, Knead it by hand till it is smooth.

Place the dough back into the bowl, cover it with a clean tea towel and allow it to rest for an hour, it will rise into a nice smooth ball.

After an hour flip the dough over onto a very lightly floured surface, stretch and fold the dough into a ball shape and gave a quarter turn many times until you feel your dough resisting and becoming less elastic.

Turn the ball over and tuck in all the edges to make the surface of the ball tight and smooth.

Allow the dough to rest for 30 minutes approximately.

Again flip the dough over and flatten it slightly, once again stretch and fold and give quarter turns until it is shaped into a ball again.

Allow the dough to rest under a clean tea towel for another 30 minutes.

if you have time repeat the stretching and folding and shaping one more time.

Finally allow the dough to rest again for at least 60 minutes. You will know when your dough is ready to bake when you press it gently with your finger and it slowly takes its shape back again.

Heat your oven to 220C, place a metal dish in the bottom of the oven and pour some hot water into it. About half a cup will probably do it. Place a pizza stone or baking tray in the oven too, you want it to super be hot.

Slash the top of your dough with a sharp knife or a lame.

Once your oven is hot and your water is steaming, carefully slide your shaped dough onto your baking tray or pizza stone. Quickly close the oven door as not to lose too much steam.

After ten minutes remove your steam dish.

Continue to bake your bread for a further 20-25 minutes, test for readiness by tapping the base of the bread. It’s ready if it sounds hollow when tapped.

Allow to cool fully on a wire rack before slicing. If you slice your bread while it’s too warm it will appear gummy where you cut, as tempting as it is you really must wait.

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