For many years, I tried to bake the perfect loaf of bread, one that was browned and crusty on the outside, moist and airy on the inside, and bursting with flavors anywhere I bit.
The crust was always the tricky part for me. Moisture—specifically, steam—was the key. As a humble home baker, I couldn’t afford the fancy, steam-injected ovens used by professional bakers.
So I tried spritzing water before baking. During baking. Before and during baking. I tried leaving a small dish of water in the oven to evaporate. I tried everything, but succeeded in producing only what could kindly be described as shoe-leather crust. I was ready to give up.
Then I read the watershed article on no-knead bread in the New York Times, which, when I read it, made so much sense to me that I ran out that very night and bought an obscenely expensive, enamel-coated, heavy, cast-iron pot to prove the recipe’s worth.
The bread itself was nearly flawless. It was unimaginably good, and it was almost foolproof. But the process was fussy, and the equipment was expensive.
Like anyone else, I prefer the path of least resistance, so I spent the next couple of years refining the process and equipment. I wanted baking this world-class loaf to be as simple as possible, to require as little time, as few steps, and as little expense as possible.
The Average Joe Artisan Bread Kit is the result of this project. I’m a teacher and coach by nature, so my goal was to share with you the information you need to succeed. I hope you think I achieved that goal.
You should know one other thing: I am using the same kitchenwares, ingredients, techniques, and recipes included in the Average Joe Artisan Bread Kit to bake bread that I sell to, and which is served by Joseph Decuis, a world-class restaurant (winner of Four Diamonds from AAA and Two Glasses from Wine Spectator) just down the road from me.
I’d like to think that if this bread is good enough for them, it’s good enough for the rest of us!