Monday, May 4, 2009

Artisan Bread in 5 (2/3)


I know the authors recommend waiting for the bread to come to room temp before serving or slicing, in order to enjoy the full flavor from the loaf. Unfortunately, I have no idea what this tastes like at anything below 10-minutes-out-of-the-oven, because the irresistible crackle and warm, chewy crumb forces me to risk burning my fingers in order to get that in my mouth, stat. Did that make sense? Who cares! The bread is ridiculously easy and is a nice gateway into working with different yeasted doughs.

Master Recipe
from Artisan Bread in 5 Minutes a Day

3 cups lukewarm water
1 1/2 tablespoons yeast
1 1/2 tablespoons kosher salt
6 1/2 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
Cornmeal for the pizza peel

Mix all ingredients with a spoon in a food-safe bucket. Let it rise, covered (but not airtight) at room temperature for 2 to 5 hours. At this point, use or refrigerate the dough for up to two weeks, baking as needed.

When ready to bake, cut off a one-pound hunk, flour well and form into a ball, leaving to rest on a peel or parchment for about 40 minutes. Preheat the oven to 450F with baking stone on the bottom and an empty baking sheet on an upper rack.

Slash the top of the dough several times and quickly slide onto stone, pouring 1 cup of water into the preheated sheet and shutting the door to trap the steam. Bake for about 30 minutes until the crust is a deep brown, then remove and leave to cool on a rack. Somehow this bread never gets past the "tear into chunks and dip in balsamic vinegar/olive oil or eat with cheese" phase. Beats me.


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