I decided to try something that I never thought I could do, make bread. There was always something really ominous about baking bread without using a box kit or a bread machine. I was craving good bread to dip in olive oil, balsamic vinegar and Parmesan cheese so I decided instead of forking out the $5-$7 bucks for the fancy artisan bread at the store, to try to make it myself. I also wanted to have a chance to use the dough hook on my Kitchen Aid Stand mixer, after 8 years, I finally learned that is what it was used for!

I pulled out my stand mixer and got started.
Here is what you need.

1/3 cup warm water
1 tablespoon sugar
1 packet active dry yeast
2 cups of flour, all purpose or bread flour
2.5 tablespoons olive oil, divided
1 teaspoon salt
Italian seasonings 1/2 teaspoon
Shredded Parmesan cheese- sprinkle

In the mixing bowl pour 1/3 cup warm water add 1 tablespoon sugar and packet of dry yeast, mix with spoon until moistened. Let stand for about 10 minutes until creamy and frothy.

Add 2 cups flour to the yeast mixture
Add 1/2 teaspoon of salt to the mixing bowl

Turn on mixer on slow mixing with a bread hook if you have one.

Slowly add water about 1 tablespoon at a time until the mixture forms into a dough ball. (about another 1/2 cup water)
Remove the dough ball from mixer and knead lightly on a flat surface sprinkled with flour.
Lightly oil the mixing bowl with about 1 tablespoon of olive oil.
Return the dough ball to the oiled mixing bowl, roll the ball in the oil.
Cover the mixing bowl with a warm, slightly damp cloth and let rise in a warm area.
Allow the dough to double in size, about 30 minutes later.

Preheat oven to 475 degrees. (Seriously 475 degrees!)

Shape the dough into a loaf on a flat slightly oiled cookie sheet.
Poke about 30 small dimples into the dough with something like a chopstick.
Mix the remaining 1 1/2 tablespoons of olive oil with the 1/2 teaspoon Italian spices and 1/2 teaspoon salt.
Use a basting brush and brush all of the oil, salt, and seasonings mixture onto the top and sides of the shaped dough. The seasonings will infuse the bread with the dimples.
Sprinkle shredded or grated parmesan cheese on the top of the oiled, seasoned bread, this will make it look pretty!

Place oiled and seasoned dough into the preheated oven and bake for 12-18 minutes depending on how dark and crusty you want your bread. If you want it lighter bake for 12.
I like my bread crusty so I baked the top for about 15 minutes, I flipped the loaf and baked the underside for 3 minutes.

Take it out of the oven, let it cool as long as you can stand to wait, and enjoy!

You just made your own artisan bread for about a buck.

Use it for sandwiches, dinner bread, or dipped in olive oil, balsamic vinegar and Parmesan cheese with a glass of wine. Sounds like a perfect dinner to me!