Sunday, February 27, 2011

Once Upon A Loaf Of Bread... *~ Tutorial ~*

Don't you love artisan breads? I've baked many kinds of breads over the years and sold many loaves at our farmer's market - but this is just about the best we've had. In fact - it was so good that I decided to try my hand at a tutorial. It's been a while - so bear with me ;)

Alright - first things first.

The ingredients are... 3 cups of lukewarm water
1 1/2 tablespoons of granulated yeast
1 1/2 tablespoons of kosher salt
6 1/2 cups of flour ( the original recipe called for white, but whole wheat worked just as well - and I used that ;) )
Cornmeal for pizza peel (or bread-board, but the peel works better)

Warm the water slightly - if you're used to making bread you can do this without a thermometer, but it should be around 100 degrees, or so.
Add yeast and salt in a 5-quart bowl, or something you can seal, such as a plastic food container. Don't worry about all the salt and yeast dissolving.

Mix in the flour - kneading is NOT necessary. ^ Shown above^

Mix in the flour thoroughly - you can use a food processor or mixer with a dough attachment - but it's quite a bit less clean-up if you just use a wooden spoon. That is - if you have strong forearms ;) You're finished when everything is uniformly moist - it should only take a few minutes. Remember - do NOT knead! There is no knead... (okay, bad pun, sorry ;) )

Now - let the dough rest and rise, covered, in the container you are using. Don't use something like a mason jar, because they can explode!

Anyway - let it rise about two hours - or until it begins to collapse. You can use the dough any time after this period, but I would suggest allowing it to chill in the refrigerator for a few hours, at least. The dough will last about 5 days in the refrigerator.

Alright - remembering NOT to knead - shape the loaf as quickly as possible - it shouldn't take more then a minute. Sprinkle the surface of the dough with flour and pull and and cut off a grapefruit-size piece. Use plenty of flour so that it won't stick to your hands. The correctly shaped final product will be smooth and cohesive.

Let the dough rest for about 40 minutes...

Twenty minutes before baking, preheat the oven to 450 (F) with a baking stone placed on the middle rack. Place an empty broiler tray (or heat safe bowl) for holding water on any other shelf that won't interfere with the rising bread.
Dust the top of the loaf liberally with flour, which will allow the slashing knife to pass without sticking. Slash a 1/4 inch deep cross or scallop, using serrated bread knife. I brushed mine with water to get a shiny crust.
Alright, you're ready to bake. With a 'quick forward jerking motion" (NOT my words ;) ) slide the loaf off of the pizza peel and onto the stone. Add about 1 cup of water to the broiler tray and close the oven door to trap the steam. Bake for about 30 minutes, or until the crust is nicely browned and firm to the touch..
Now, the next instructions are to let it cool - but that has NEVER happened at my house. ;) It's good warm, as you may imagine...

This is a very basic recipe, and subject to plenty of variation, as you can imagine. Let me know how it worked! (And if you like the tutorial idea... let me know. I might do it again, if I get enough feedback ;) )
(Much thanks to the book Artisan Bread in Five Minutes A Day, bye Jeff Hertzberg and Zoe Francois - I adapted their recipe for this tutorial! It's a wonderful book! )


Cosette said...

This sounds really fun! Have to try it soon- my siblings are hanging over my shoulder looking a lil hungry.

Your blog is lovely btw :)

All Things Lovely said...

A couple friends and I are starting up a new website/blog for set-apart sisters to connect and share. We'd love you to be a part of it! We are also looking for guest bloggers. Blessings, Hannah Rose

Courtney said...

Lovely! I hope that Molly and I can try this!