Friday, November 24, 2006

Homemade Bread

I baked my first edible loaf of bread yesterday (earlier efforts have produced nice doorstops) and I have another one in the oven now. Really very good with a hard crust outside and chewy inside with big holes in the bread. It's very similar to the bread you get these days at gourmet restaurants. I'm thinking of Bang! (the salmon with wasabi cream sauce is incredible), where they serve it with sweet cream butter and I think it comes from Denver Bread Co. It's super easy and quick to put together. You stir together 3 Cups of bread or all purpose flour (I used bread flour) 1/4 tsp. Instant yeast, 1 1/4 tsp salt, 1 1/2 Cup water and then you let it sit for 12 to 18 hours in a bowl covered with plastic. No kneading. You just stir it with your hands and let it sit. It won't look right, it's too stringy and wet and shaggy looking but it will be fine.
After the better part of a day you fold it over on itself, right, left, top, bottom, wrap it in a floured towel, seam side down and let it sit for 2 more hours. My place is a little chilly so I put it on the bed under a quilt. 30 minutes before it's ready to bake put a covered casserole or Dutch oven into the oven at 480 degrees and let it heat up with the oven. After 30 minutes are up, dump the dough into the hot Dutch oven, seam side up this time, cover it with the lid and bake 30 minutes at 480. Remove the lid and bake another 5 - 15 minutes until it's golden brown if necessary (it usually isn't and you risk burning the bottom) and then cool on a cooling rack (I don't have one so I just set it on the burner on top of the stove). This is a link to the video tutorial, not that you need it, it's just to show you that yes, that's really all there is to it.
This is almost impossible to mess up. I've made all sorts of mistakes and it always turns out great.

Here is an update on the no knead that supposedly improves it though I was pretty impressed with the original myself.

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