Now, ever since I lost my job, I have been baking a lot of bread. White bread, wheat bread, challah, cinnamon swirl, banana, zucchini, pumpkin. I'd never really thought about making "artisan" bread, thinking it was basically white bread baked in a circle on a sheet instead of in a loaf pan. And truly, the ingredients are pretty similar, but the execution of the recipes differ drastically. Usually, making bread takes up several hours in the morning or early afternoon. There's the mixing and kneading, rising, punching down, rising again and finally baking. Usually, there's quite a bit of fat is included in the recipe, as well as sugar, or milk. This recipe is easy. It calls for 4 ingredients- water, yeast, flour and salt. There is no kneading, and once it has risen for a couple hours, you can stick it in the fridge until the day you want to bake it.
Here's the recipe (modified from here and possibly here.)
3 cups of lukewarm water (or warm whey from making ricotta cheese, which is what I used!)
2 packets of yeast, or 1.5 Tbsp
6.5 cups flour
1.5 Tbsp kosher or coarse salt
In a small bowl, mix the water and yeast. The yeast won't all dissolve immediately, don't worry about it. Let this mixture stand for a few minutes while you prepare the flour and salt. Stir the flour and salt together in a large bowl with a lid. A 5 quart food storage bucket would be great if you have one. Make a well in the flour.
Pour the yeast and water mixture into the well. Mix together gently until all the dry ingredients have been absorbed into the dough mass. If you're having trouble getting the last bit of flour worked in, wet your hands and use them to mix the dough. Don't Knead!
|Floured on top with chunk removed. This is the largest bowl I have!|
To bake: Take the dough out of the fridge and sprinkle lightly wit flour. Cut off a softball sized chunk, using a serrated knife. Keeping the floured surface on top, pull the sides down to the bottom of the ball and smooth the lump of dough. Put it on a cookie sheet or pizza stone to rise for 40 minutes.
Twenty minutes into the rise time, set your oven for 450*F, and place a baking or broiling pan in the oven under the rack you plan to bake on. At the end of the 40 minute rise time, lightly flour your lump of dough. Using the same serrated knife, make three or four slashes through the top, no more than 1/4 inch deep.
|Dusted and slashed|
Now here's the hard part: Try not to cut into the loaf for about 15 minutes, the crumb texture will drastically improve, and it will be easier to cut. But if you do like I did- cut into my first loaf immediately- real butter and a good quality jam is excellent on it!
|Fresh out of the oven!|
Speaking of jam... I'll be using up the rest of my apples this week for apple butter, and perhaps I'll post the recipe and pics for my pear lemon jam too!
What's cooking in your kitchen?