A blog begun in honor of our search for children through fostering and adoption...but is now mostly about other stuff.
Wednesday, April 1, 2009
Rustic Artisan Bread
It's time to post about one of my most favorite things in the world, aside from Ray and Madeline, and that is BREAD. Do you ever buy the Pugliese Bread from the Costco bakery and other stores? I do, and its the best. It's large crumbed and crusty, and makes fabulous toast.
Anyway, about six months ago I was given a recipe for this bread, and here's the best part: there is absolutely NO KNEADING INVOLVED! Nor a bread machine. Simply a bowl, a wooden spoon, and a heavy, lidded pot (dutch oven, casserole dish, etc.) That and four ingredients. That's right--I said FOUR INGREDIENTS, as opposed to about 10 ingredients in the Costco bread.
Lo and behold, the recipe. And trust me, the first time you make and try this bread, you'll wonder where it's been all your life! And if you're alarmed about all the words and photos, don't be. It's me, not the bread.
Put the following in a bowl (I heard that taller bowls work better for yeast doughs, so you can see I use a 6" tall bowl. I'm sure any will work though):
•3 Cups Flour •1/2 Teaspoon Instant Yeast (I use bread machine yeast and it works fine. DO NOT USE Active Dry Yeast. My friend tried it and it didn’t work.) •1 1/4 Teaspoons Salt
Whisk ingredients together.
•Add 1 1/2 Cups Water (Does not need to be warm. I use cool tap water.)
Mix together with wooden spoon, then if you wish (I can be obsessive) use rubber spatula to pull remaining dough bits off sides of bowl.
Cover with plastic wrap and let rise. You can choose how long you want your bread to rise--anywhere from 11-16 hours. It's very flexible, this bread, but I usually do 12-14 hours.
Here is the dough after 12 hours. Risen up the bowl halfway-ish. Very bubbly and sticky. Just as it should be.
Turn the dough out onto a floured board and briefly bring it together to form a ball shape. It will be wet and loose.
Cover the dough and let rise for 1 1/2 to 2 hours. After about 1 1/2 hours, preheat oven to 450 degrees with covered pot inside.
Once oven is ready, uncover your dough. Should like like this.
Carefully pull out hot, empty pan, uncover and flip loaf into hot pan, cover and return to oven. No need to grease pan.
My pan is a round, covered, pyrex pan that measures 9.5" across the top, is about 4 inches tall with the lid on, and the loaf fits perfectly. But just use whatever you've got--it'll probably work. Just make sure the top of the pan lip does not curve inward, or you will have a tough time removing the baked loaf from the pan. Learned this by sad experience!
Bake for 30 minutes and then remove lid.
Continue baking bread for another 15 minutes, uncovered, then remove from oven.
Remove loaf from the pan and cool on a wire rack. Don't try to cut it too quickly. It smells so good that you'll want to, and then you'll get a mushed slice of bread. I force myself to wait at least 30 minutes. It will still be warm.
Its great with butter and honey or homemade raspberry jam.
And here's all that usually remains after a meal.
***One last thing. You may be thinking what a great way this is to use wheat you might have stored. Its true. This bread works with whole wheat flour, cause I've tried it. The problem is, once you've tried it with all white flour, its just not quite as good with any percentage of whole wheat flour. A real bummer. So I would recommend trying it first with whole wheat flour. That way you'll remain unbiased.
The way I've tried to make this bread a little healthier (at times) is by adding wheat germ. Makes it just a bit chewier, but the good taste is still there. Let me know if you come up with any other good healthy variations.***