Monday, January 12, 2009

Fresh Bread

So I made fresh bread. The aroma of warm bread filling your home is unmatched, maybe apple pie, for comfort and warmth. With just four ingredients, a few short steps and time to read, do chores, watch TV, there is no real reason to not give it a try. I'm so happy I did and I'll do it again! The price of the yeast, flour and salt plus my time is far more affordable than a loaf of store bought bread!

Easy French Bread

From How to Cook Everything by Mark Bittman

3 1/2 cups break or all-purpose flour, plus more as needed
2 tsp salt
1 tsp instant or rapid-rise yeast
Scant 1 1/2 cups water

1) Add the flour, salt and yeast to the bowl of your food processor. Pulse for 5 seconds. With the machine running, pour most of the water through the feed tube. Process for about 30 seconds. The dough should be in a defined but shaggy ball, still sticky; you would not want to knead it by hand.

2) Place the dough in a large bowl and loosely cover with a plastic bag, plastic wrap or a towel and let sit, draft free, for 2-3 hours at room temperature. If you would like to let the dough rise for a longer period of time, which will help develop the flavors, refrigerate for up to 12 hours, bring back to room temperature before continuing.

3) Sprinkle a small amount of flour on the counter and pull the dough out of the bowl and place in the middle of the flour. Gently knead the dough to redistribute the yeast and slowly form the dough into a ball, pinching the sides together on the underside of the dough ball, leaving a smooth surface on the top.

4) Line a colander with a clean kitchen towel and dust with flour. Place the dough ball in the colander, smooth side down. Loosely fold the towel over the dough ball and let rise from 2-6 hours.

5) 30 minutes before you are ready to bake, preheat the oven to 450 degrees. When you are ready to bake, gently turn the dough ball onto a peel or baking sheet. Slash the top several times with a knife or razor blade. Spray the inside of the oven several times with water to create steam. Then either put the baking sheet in the oven or slide the loaf onto a baking stone.

6) Spray two or three times during the first 10 minutes of baking. After 20 minutes, lower the heat to 350. Bake a total of 45 minutes, or until the crust is golden brown (internal temperature will be about 210.) Remove and spray with a little bit of water if you would like a shinier crust, and cool on a wire rack.

I used the boule shape because it's easy. Next time I might try doing a loaf, which will be nicer for sandwiches. We ate about one third of the loaf with dinner. The rest will be used for sandwiches.

While you are at the store, try to get some Kerrygold Butter it will make your bread experience much more satisfying! satisfying!


Dancer in DC said...

Delicious! I think between this recipe and the one for soda bread, ScottE may have hit on a big moneysaver, at least for weekends.

ScottE. said...

Dancer is actually referring to the Irish Brown Bread