Monday, January 26, 2015

My Favorite Bread

There are only a few foods in this whole world that I love as much as yummy bread. Good bread just seems to elevate the most simple meals, it adds that extra special something to mundane dinners and heck! it is dang delicious all on its own. 

Sadly, I have had a really hard time mastering good bread. I think the world of bakers who are able to just whip the stuff up, and grandmothers and moms everywhere who don't even get out a recipe, but just mix up a dough by feel and it turns into that warm, crumbly, crusty goodness that is just a loaf of love to me. 

But I have discovered the Amazing technique that is Artisan Bread in 5 Minutes. 

Here is the basic recipe with tips / how to, and all brand new videos! 

It is Very very similar to one of the most popular recipes that the NY Times has ever published. 

3 cups all-purpose or bread flour, more for dusting
¼ teaspoon instant yeast
1 ¼ teaspoons salt
 Cornmeal or wheat bran as needed

In a large bowl combine flour, yeast and salt. Add 1 5/8 cups water, and stir until blended; dough will be shaggy and sticky. Cover bowl with plastic wrap. Let dough rest at least 12 hours, preferably about 18, at warm room temperature, about 70 degrees.

Dough is ready when its surface is dotted with bubbles. Lightly flour a work surface and place dough on it; sprinkle it with a little more flour and fold it over on itself once or twice. Cover loosely with plastic wrap and let rest about 15 minutes.

Using just enough flour to keep dough from sticking to work surface or to your fingers, gently and quickly shape dough into a ball. Generously coat a cotton towel (not terry cloth) with flour, wheat bran or cornmeal; put dough seam side down on towel and dust with more flour, bran or cornmeal. Cover with another cotton towel and let rise for about 2 hours. When it is ready, dough will be more than double in size and will not readily spring back when poked with a finger.

At least a half-hour before dough is ready, heat oven to 450 degrees. Put a 6- to 8-quart heavy covered pot (cast iron, enamel, Pyrex or ceramic) in oven as it heats. When dough is ready, carefully remove pot from oven. Slide your hand under towel and turn dough over into pot, seam side up; it may look like a mess, but that is O.K. Shake pan once or twice if dough is unevenly distributed; it will straighten out as it bakes. Cover with lid and bake 30 minutes, then remove lid and bake another 15 to 30 minutes, until loaf is beautifully browned. Cool on a rack.

Get a few practice loaves in and the get ready to bake your valentine up something really special.