Friday, May 30, 2008

quick artisan bread

There's a neat book and YouTube video on making artisan breads in 5 minutes a day. Sounds interesting. The idea is mix flour, yeast, water, and salt, mix to combine (but don't knead), rise, then bake. Buy the book, it's got lots of great recipes. Here's the basic recipe for making a round "boule", or french loaf.

Homemade Artisan Bread

Makes four 1lb. loaves. Can be doubled or halved

3 cups lukewarm water
1.5 tbsp. dry yeast
1.5 tbsp. kosher salt
6.5 cups unsifted unbleached all purpose flour

  1. Warm water to about 100 degrees.
  2. Add yeast and salt to the water in a 5 quart bowl or resealable lidded food-grade bucket.
  3. Mix in the flour, kneading is unnecessary. Add all the flour, imx with wooden spoon, stand mixer, until it's uniform. You can use your hands to mix if they are very wet. Everything will be uniformly moist, without dry patches. Dough will be wet and loose.
  4. Allow it to rise for about 2 hours, until it begins to collape. Longer rise times, up to 5 hours, won't harm the result.
  5. Refridgerate dough overnight (or at least 3 hours) before shaping the loaf.
  6. Sprinkle the surface of refridgerated dough with flour. Cut off grapefruit sized piece (1 lb). Add some flour so it doesn't stick to your hands, but don't knead it. Shape into a ball; this part should only take 30-60 seconds.
  7. Dust a pizza peel with cornmeal, and place the shaped loaf on the peel.
  8. Let it rest on the peel for about 40 minutes uncovered.
  9. 20 minutes before baking, preheat oven to 450F, with baking stone on lowest rack, with empty broiler tray on any other shelf
  10. Dust the loaf liberally with flour, and slash 1/4" deep scallop (seashell ribs), tic-tac-toe, or cross in the top with a serrated bread knife
  11. Slide into oven off of peel onto stone, and pour 1 cup hot water into broiler tray to generate steam
  12. Bake for 30 minutes or until crust is nicely browned. Wet dough will lead to soft interior.
  13. Cool on wire rack.
  14. Use remaining dough within 14 days.
  15. When refreshing dough, don't clean the bucket; this will help build a sourdough over time.

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