Homemade Artisan Bread + AWESOME GIVEAWAY!!

Baking is always a bit challenging for me.  It is such an exact science, and if one measurement is even a little bit off the whole recipe can flop.  This seems to be especially true with homemade bread.  So, when I read about Average Joe Bread Kit in my college alumni magazine I was immediately intrigued.  The article told the story of Joe Bellavance, a fellow alum who mastered the art (and science!) of simple and delicious homemade artisan bread without any fancy culinary training or expertise.  He put together all his experience and know-how into a single kit available for purchase.

Sign me up!

When I received the kit I was immediately impressed.  It literally came with everything I could need to put together a delicious loaf of homemade artisan-style bread.  But, perhaps more importantly, the kit came with Joe’s step-by-step instructions for building beautiful bread.  Evie (wearing one of her favorite dress-up gowns) and I got started right away.

I was surprised by how little effort was required – just some simple mixing and no kneading (which I never seem to do right anyway).  After combining water, yeast, salt and flour I left the bowl alone for nearly 24 hours to rise.  Once the dough had risen substantially and taken on a giggly appearance, I scooped it out of the bowl and quickly shaped it into a round loaf.  I then set it into the Average Joe’s Bread Pot – the secret weapon in the whole process (in my opinion).  The bread bakes in the pot for just 45 minutes, all the while the house smells like a gourmet bread bakery.  Heavenly!!

I took the loaf out of the oven and set it on the cooling rack.  Joe’s directions suggest leaving the loaf to cool for 4-6 hours (yeah right), but he said its ok to steal a slice after 30 minutes. I waited a grand total of 31 minutes.

I can honestly say that I haven’t felt this proud of myself in ages.  I made this! I made this beautiful, perfectly crusty, perfectly chewy, perfectly perfect loaf of artisan bread!!!

It was so much easier than I ever could have guessed.  I told Joe that I think he’s a genius – he has given amateur bakers like me the tools and know-how to do what I always thought could only be left to the professionals. Thank you, Joe!

Homemade bread warm from the oven is such a treat for my little family, but it would also be a wonderful gift for a hostess or a family with a new baby.  And, the bread kit will be my go-to wedding gift from now on.

Joe has generously offered to participate in a GIVEAWAY for readers of Homemade Mothering.  To enter for a chance to win your own Average Joe Bread Kit do the following:

*Send an email with your favorite homemade recipe to recipes@breadkit.com (your email address will be kept private).  The recipe should be something you can do with bread (french toast, sandwich, etc) or something you can put on bread (jam, nut butters, condiments, etc) by Sunday, February 12 at 11:59 pm CST. The winner will be picked at random, but some recipes may show up on Joe’s site.  Cool!

Feel free to leave your recipe in the comments section here so we can all enjoy some new homemade recipes.

BONUS: If at least 100 readers submit an entry, Joe will extend a 10% discount to everyone who enters!

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6 Comments for this entry

  1. Sue Rutherford says:

    Hi Maureen,
    Love your site! Making perfect bread is on my to dothe list too this year.
    One recipe I would like to share is for all the busy moms who need to prepare a meal in minutes. My favorite quick meal. It was and still isthe a big hit. Basic ingredients include canned white albacore tuna, mayo, fresh tomatoes, mushrooms, shredded cheddar cheese and Hawaiian bread. You can add other vegetable too or should I say sneak them in. You can make homemade Hawaiian bread or buy it premade at the grocery store. Its great for french toast too. Know your eater to figure out the size of slice. The thicker the better. Put oven on to broil. Place bread slices on the foil. When preparing multiple I butt them side by side to keep the cheese on Cover with the tuna and mayo mixture. Add the steak tomatoes cut thick, sliced mushrooms and sprinkle cheddar cheese on top. Place it in the oven till the cheese is melted and the breads sides get crispy. Its delicously sweet in minutesthe and the kids and adults love it. Easy clean up too. Enjoy!

  2. Sheila says:

    When it comes to bread, I’m all over a good recipe like butter on a biscuit! Love bread and it loves me right back! My family love these Parmesan Buttery Sticks!
    1/3 C. butter (salted)
    2 C. plus 1 tablespoon of flour
    3 T. Parmesan cheese- grated
    1 T. sugar
    3 1/2 t. baking powder
    1 t. basil leaves
    1 T. chopped fresh parsley
    1 C. milk
    In a 9 x 9 square pan, melt butter in a 400 degree oven. In a bowl combine all the dry ingredients. Then, stir milk into the dry ingredients a little at a time just until moistened. Turn dough into a lightly floured surface. Roll into a 12 x 14 rectangle then cut that down to 12 one inch strips. Take the pan out of the oven and dip the strips in the melted butter and leave in the pan. Put back in the oven and bake for 20 minutes. Finger-lick’in good!

  3. I’m building up the courage to make homemade bread… kudos!

  4. LesleaM says:

    My favorite thing to do with artisan bread is make French Toast!

    I add an egg or 2 with some milk, a dash of cinnamon and a teaspoon of vanilla. I coat both sides of the bread in the mixture and toast on a hot buttered griddle until both sides are golden brown. I serve with warm maple syrup or homemade blueberry maple spread.

    The blueberry maple spread is easy to make!

    Add a pint of fresh blueberries to a medium saucepan. Add in 1/2 cup or so of maple syrup. You can adjust this measurement according to your personal preferences. Cook until blueberries are soft and mash them down. Cook until just starting to thicken. You can store the leftovers in the fridge for a week.

  5. I’ve tried making bread for years without any success. The first time I made a loaf from average joe’s bread kit I couldn’t believe the results. I love that kit and I’ve never had a bad loaf. Thanks Joe

  6. I’ve been trying to make bread for years without any success. The very first time I used AJ bread kit , I could not believe the results. It came out great, the taste & look we’re unbelievable. Thank you Joe

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