Sunday, November 14, 2010


Bread is wonderful.

Not that stuff you get presliced from the grocery store where you have to stare about about 80 different kinds and try to choose which one is right for you.

Really...what's the difference between Multi-grain, hearty grain, and healthy grain mix???

I'm talking about fresh from the oven, flavorful, crusty deliciousness.

Unfortunately... I had no idea how to create that.
Until now

About two months ago, we hosted a wine and cheese party (...just to give you an idea of how behind in posting I am).
I figured that would be the perfect time to try to tackle this tasty mystery.

(definitely still in my pajamas had to rise a while)

It turns out the key to a good hard crust on bread is to spray it with water when it goes in the oven, or create steam by putting ice cubes in the bottom of your hot oven.

The recipe I used was from King Arthur Flour's baking blog.

It was an overnight dough that used a tiny amount of yeast and a long rising time

The blog give a great detailed description of the process which made everything significantly easier.
While my bread didn't come out beautiful, it did have a nice crisp to it, and we ate all three baguettes in the course of the party.

I'd call that a success.

Bread is wonderful....
Try it.

(From King

1/2 cup (4 ounces) cool water
1 cup (4 1/4 ounces) King Arthur Unbleached All-Purpose Flour or Unbleached Bread Flour
1/16 teaspoon instant yeast

All of the starter
r 1 teaspoon active dry yeast
1 cup (8 ounces) lukewarm water*
3 1/2 cups (14 3/4 ounces) King Arthur Unbleached All-Purpose Flour or Unbleached Bread Flour*
1 1/2 teaspoons salt

*If you use bread flour, increase the water to 1 cup + 2 tablespoons (9 ounces).

The Starter: Mix the starter ingredients together till smooth, cover, and let rest at room temperature for about 14 hours; overnight is good.

Preparing the Dough: Mix the yeast with the lukewarm water. Combine the starter, yeast, water, flour, and salt, and mix and knead them together till you've made a soft, somewhat smooth dough; it should be cohesive, but the surface should still be a bit rough. Allow the dough to rise, covered with lightly greased plastic wrap, for 3 hours, gently deflating it and turning it over after 1 hour, and then again after 2 hours.

Turn the dough out onto a lightly greased or floured work surface. Divide the dough into three pieces. Shape each piece into a rough, slightly flattened oval, cover with greased plastic wrap, and let rest for 15 minutes.

Working with one piece of dough at a time, fold the dough in half lengthwise, and seal the edges with the heel or edge of your hand. Flatten it slightly, and fold and seal again. With the seam-side down, cup your fingers and gently roll the dough into a 15" log . Place the logs in the folds of a floured couche or floured cotton dish towel, which you've set onto a sheet pan or pans. Or place them directly onto the pan (lightly greased or parchment-lined). Cover them with a proof cover or lightly greased plastic wrap, and allow the loaves to rise till they have become quite puffy, but haven't doubled in size; this will take about 60 to 90 minutes.

Preheat your oven to 450°F; if you're using a baking stone, place it on the lowest shelf. Roll the risen baguettes from the couche onto the lightly greased or parchment-lined pan of your choice -- or onto a peel, if you're baking directly on the stone. Spritz the baguettes heavily with warm water; this will help them develop a crackly-crisp crust. Using a very sharp knife held at about a 45° angle, make three 8” vertical slashes in each baguette. Place the baguettes in the oven.

Bake the baguettes for about 25 minutes, until they're a deep, golden brown. Remove them from the oven and cool on a rack. Or, for the very crispiest baguettes, turn off the oven, crack it open about 2 inches, and allow the baguettes to cool in the oven.
Yield: Three 16” baguettes.

P.S. Expect a lot more bread posts. We Make a lot of it in this house.
...I kinda got fed up with the bread isle and stopped buying it.

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