January Baking Challenge

artisan bread loaves


January 2020 Sally’s Baking Challenge Recipe: Homemade Artisan Bread

We’re focusing on a staple bread recipe that I simply call “artisan bread.” Shaped into a longer loaf or a boule (round loaf), this no knead bread requires only 4 ingredients and zero special equipment. No dutch oven or special pan needed.

How to Join Sally's Baking Challenge

  1. Recipe: I publish a new challenge recipe on the 1st of each month. Sign up for Sally’s Baking Challenge emails so you’re alerted as soon as a new challenge recipe is published.
  2. Bake: Bake the recipe during that month.
  3. Send: Share your recipe photo with us via email: [email protected]. By emailing your recipe photo, you are automatically entered in the baking challenge. For a bonus entry, leave a review on the challenge recipe. Instagram direct messages are hard to track, so please email your recipe photo instead. Feel free to share on social media using #sallysbakingchallenge and tagging me (@sallysbakeblog), but the only way to guarantee you are in the running is sending your entry via email.


By emailing your recipe photo to us, you are automatically entered in the baking challenge. 1 winner receives a $250 Amazon Gift Card. We keep track of your photos and randomly select 1 winner at the end of the month. The challenge is open to the whole world. Visit the Sally’s Baking Challenge FAQ page if you have any questions about my baking challenges!

Let’s Review the December Baking Challenge

December 2019 Sally’s Baking Challenge Recipe: Homemade Butter Cookies

The most participants in ANY baking challenge recipe since its introduction in February 2017! 🙂 These butter cookies are a homemade version of a Danish classic. Shaped with a piping tip and decorated with sugar, sprinkles, chocolate, and/or cherries, these cookies were everywhere in December. Prone to over-spreading, though, this wasn’t exactly the easiest challenge recipe. Taking the extra steps to use the right tools and chill the shaped dough proved that even easy-sounding recipes require attention and precision.

One of my favorite recipe reviews came from reader Laurie:

“These cookies are really easy to make and so delicious! They are perfectly buttery and crumbly- great with coffee or hot chocolate. I highly recommend dipping them in melted chocolate and adding the sprinkles! Thanks, Sally- another awesome recipe!”

We gathered as many butter cookie photo entries as we could and included them below. (Email is the best way to help guarantee your photo will be included!)

collage of butter cookies images

collage of butter cookies images

collage of butter cookies images

collage of butter cookies images

collage of butter cookies images

collage of butter cookies images

collage of butter cookies images

collage of butter cookies images

collage of butter cookies images

collage of butter cookies images

collage of butter cookies images

collage of butter cookies images

collage of butter cookies images

collage of butter cookies images

collage of butter cookies images

collage of butter cookies images

collage of butter cookies images

collage of butter cookies images

collage of butter cookies images

collage of butter cookies images

collage of butter cookies images

collage of butter cookies images

collage of butter cookies images

collage of butter cookies images

collage of butter cookies images

collage of butter cookies images

collage of butter cookies images

Challenge winner for December is Jessica and she has been notified. 🙂

butter cookies winner image


  1. Paige Cassandra Flamm says:

    I am so excited for this challenge! I’ve never made an artisan bread before, but I can already tell my entire family is going to love this one!


    1. I’m so happy you’re looking forward to this challenge, Paige!

  2. I sent you a picture on Gmail but it’s not up here for some reason?

    1. Hi H.D– did you send to [email protected]? I don’t see your email in my folder. We receive hundreds of these and if I responded to you, then you were counted in the running on our spreadsheet. Sometimes we aren’t able to include every single picture since there are hundreds. Thank you so much for participating!

      1. Yes, I did send it to you and I did get the automatic reply that you were busy because it was December.
        Yeah, I guess there’s not enough space, but that’s fine.

  3. Can’t wait for this recipe!!! I love bread of any kind, and this looks so good…..keeping my eye out for the recipe tomorrow.
    And congrats to Jessica – your cookies look so good.

    1. Thank you so much! I’m so happy you’re looking forward to this recipe, Gemma!

  4. I cannot wait for January’s challenge! I love baking with yeast but have never made artisan bread before. I’m excited to continue with this recipe!

    1. YAY! So glad you’re excited about January’s challenge 🙂

  5. Robyn Gleason says:

    Hi Sally
    Happy New Year’s Eve. I’m excited to attempt this as I’ve never made bread before without a bread machine. It’s been on my to do list for a couple years. Looking forward to the recipe and the challenge.

    1. Have fun, Robyn! Can’t wait to see your bread!

  6. Exciting choice after a month of sugar overload! have only made a very small number of experiments with bread, so can’t wait for the tutorials and all the pics from “Sally’s Family”! Happy New Year!!

    1. Happy new year to you too, Lauri!

  7. AH! I can’t wait for this challange! My husband recently bought me a whole pack of Red Star Platinum yeast and I’ve been looking for the perfect recipe to start using it!

    1. YAY! Happy bread making, Rebecca!

  8. What a great challenge, as January I will be doing a “40 day Sugar fast”
    So this will be perfect to do in the kitchen, thanks again for all your amazing work/sharing on this blog. Love it, and have learned so much.

    1. Perfect timing! Hope you love this recipe, Lynn 🙂

  9. I’m excited to try out this challenge. I didn’t get to as many challenges as I would have liked last year but I’m eager to make this a resolution for 2020– all 12 challenges! Thank you, Sally, for the inspiration. I’m excited to improve my baking, get outside my comfort zone, and to see what 2020 brings 🙂

    1. Meghan C. that is one of my goals for this year as well, want to stretch my baking skills to do more than what I just usually make. looking forward to making this over the weekend.

    2. What a wonderful goal, Meghan! Thank you so much for your readership and participation in my baking challenges!

  10. I like Meghan C.’s new year’s resolution! And, yay for another yeast challenge recipe! Psyched to start 2020 with you all, and thank you, dear Sally, for your awesome work. Happy New Year!

    1. Woo hoo! Happy new year, Laurie!

  11. I’m so excited I found this challenge. I love to cook but for some reason baking makes me super nervous. I’m definitely one of those people who thinks yeast is terrifying. BUT I’ve been wanting to get braver and better for so long. This seems like the perfect way to do it- with a community of other participants who can help me and encourage me along the way!

    1. I’m so glad you are excited about the challenge this month, Kimberly! Have fun!!

  12. Bread has never been my strong point, but I am looking forward to learning.
    thanks for all your encouragement

    1. Hope you will participate this month, Sue!

  13. As mentioned above, bread making is not one of my strong points either. Looking forward to “tackling” this one Sally. Who doesn’t love homemade bread.

    1. YAY! I am so glad you will!

  14. I found your website this month and I’m so excited to join this years baking challenges! Thanks for the amazing recipes, I can’t wait for more!

    1. I’m so happy you found my website, welcome to SBA Mandy!

  15. I’m far from a young baker, but bread has never been my calling, so I’ll be interested in how well I do with this challenge

    1. I hope you will enjoy it, Barbara! Stay tuned 🙂

  16. susan hammitt says:

    I usually make a butter spritz cookie recipe that I like, but thought I would give this a try instead this year. Am I glad I did. Mine spread a bit more than I wished because I do not have the hand strength to have kept the dough as stiff as I would have liked, but oh my goodness. The flavor and crumb are truly outstanding. Think I will be throwing out my cookie press :).

    1. I’m so happy you enjoyed the butter cookie recipe, Susan! Thanks for your positive feedback 🙂

  17. Karla Doerksen says:

    I’m excited to make this bread today. Nothing beats fresh bread (smell and taste) on a snowy January day!

    1. The perfect day! Hope you enjoyed it, Karla 🙂

  18. What a perfect challenge for January—after all the cookies and sweets in December, a savoury bake is exactly what we need. So excited to give this a whirl!

    1. So glad you’ll be participating this month, Kait!

  19. I think that I can finally enter one of your baking challenges! This recipe will be fun! I can’t wait to make it!

    1. YAY! So glad you’ll be joining us this month 🙂

  20. Hi Sally,
    I just baked the bread tonight (it has been resting in the fridge since yesterday) and I am really pleased with the result! I have tried a fair amount of bread recipes over the years, but I have never successfully made crusty artisan bread. It didn’t rise much so I was afraid that it would be dense but the interior was nice and fluffy, and I will definitely be making this one again. Thanks for the recipe Sally!

    1. I’m so happy you enjoyed this recipe, Caroline! Thanks for participating this month 🙂

  21. Adrienne Ritter says:

    Tried this recipe today. Such a fun challenge. I did use plain old flour and to make it crispy I threw ice cubes on bottom of oven. Thanks for motivating me to learn how to bake!

    1. Thank you so much for participating this month, Adrienne!

  22. Yay! I’m so excited to start the year off with a yeast recipe! Yeast baking intimidates me and I really want to overcome that this year! Thank you so much! God bless!

  23. Made this bread last weekend – turned out great and was very easy to make!

  24. This was by far the easiest bread I’ve ever made!! And it was so good! I did not use bread flour tho, but it was still awesome. I will be adding this to my list of favorites, thanks : )

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