I love bread. Any type of savory or sweet baked good is fine with me. A few years ago my dad found this recipe and shared it with me. It is seriously the easiest bread recipe ever. I love that I can customize the recipe to fit with the meal I'm serving, which I will discuss more below.
Master Recipe: Artisan Free-Form Loaf
makes 4 1-pound loaves
3 cups lukewarm water
1 1/2 tbsp granulated yeast (1 1/2 pkgs)
1 1/2 tbsp coarse kosher or sea salt
6 1/2 cups unsifted, unbleached, AP white flour
cornmeal for pizza peel
|dough resting 40min before baking|
- Heat the water to just a little warmer than body temp (100 degrees F)
- Add yeast and salt to the water in a 5 qt bowl, or in a resealable container. Allow to yeast bloom.
- Mix in the flour by gently scooping it up and leveling (don't sift). Mix with a wooden spoon or mixer with dough attachment. Don't knead! This yields a wet dough loose enough to conform to the container.
- Cover loosely, and allow the mixture to rise at room temp until it begins to collapse (about 2 hours).
- You can use a portion of the dough anytime after this point, but it is recommended to refrigerate dough for at least 3 hours before shaping the loaf.
- Sprinkle a pizza peel (or cutting board, etc) liberally with cornmeal to prevent loaf from sticking.
- Sprinkle the surface of the dough with flour and cut off a 1 pound piece (equal to 1/4 of the total dough)
- Gently stretch the surface of the dough around the bottom on four "sides", rotating a quarter turn, until the bottom is a collection of four bunched ends. The bottom of the loaf will flatten during resting and baking.
- Place the ball on the pizza peel and rest uncovered for about 40 min.
- Preheat the oven to 450 degrees 20 minutes before baking with a baking stone on the middle rack. Place an empty broiler tray for holding water on another shelf.
- Dust the top of the loaf with flour and slash a 1-inch-deep cross, scallop or tick-tack-toe patten into the top.
- Slide the loaf off the pizza peel and onto the baking stone.
- Carefully pour a cup of hot water into the broiler tray for steam.
- Bake for about 30 min, or until the crust is browned and firm to the touch.
- Allow to cool completely on a wire rack before slicing.
- Refrigerate the remaining dough and use within two weeks.
- The dough can also be portioned and frozen in an airtight container. Defrost the night before baking in the refrigerator.
|sneaky toddler can't get enough of the bread either|
Rather than baking the bread on a pizza stone (since we broke ours), I coat a pyrex bowl with oil & flour and bake the bread right in the bowl. It comes out just the same!
Our latest experiment was for a slightly sweet breakfast bread. The night before, I got the dough out and mixed in some cinnamon, chopped figs, brown sugar, and a little agave nectar. I folded the ingredients in, the popped the dough back in the fridge. The next morning, I followed the instructions starting at "Baking Day" and mixed in a little more cinnamon. Right before I put the dough in the oven, i sprinkled brown sugar & oatmeal on top. It came out of the oven smelling wonderful. We had to restrain ourselves to let it cool.
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