Thursday, August 30, 2007
The Easiest Bread Loaf ?... I wouldn't go that far
"The Easiest Loaf of Bread You’ll Ever Bake"
(taken from King Arthur Flour's website)
1 T sugar
5 1/2-6 cups King Arthur Unbleached All-Purpose Flour
1 T (1 packet) yeast
1 T salt
2 cups warm water (not over 110°F)
Add sugar and yeast to warm water and let dissolve. Gradually add salt and flour to liquid and mix thoroughly until dough pulls from sides of bowl. Turn out onto floured surface to knead. (This may be a little messy, but don't give up!)
Fold far edge of dough back over on itself towards you. Press dough away with heels of hands. After each push, rotate dough 90°. Repeat process in rhythmic, rocking motion for about 3 minutes. (Lightly sprinkle flour on board to prevent sticking.) Let dough rest while you scrape out and grease mixing bowl. Knead dough again about 3 more minutes until bouncy and smooth.
LET IT RISE
Place dough in bowl and turn over once to grease the top. Cover with damp towel or plastic wrap and let rise until doubled in bulk (1 to 2 hours).
Punch down dough with fist and briefly knead out gas bubbles. Cut in half and shape into 2 Italian or French-style loaves. Place on cookie sheet generously sprinkled with corn meal. Let dough rest 10 minutes.
Quick Method: Lightly slash the tops 3 or more times diagonally and brush with cold water. Place on rack in cold oven. Bake at 400°F for 35 to 40 minutes until crust is golden brown and sounds hollow to the touch.
Traditional Method: For lighter, crustier bread, let loaves rise 45 minutes. Preheat oven to 450°F for 15 minutes. Pour 2 to 3 cups of boiling water into roasting pan. Carefully place on oven bottom. Place bread on rack above pan and bake 20 minutes. Turn oven off and allow bread to remain for 5 more minutes. Remove, cool and devour!
*This is what we're having our steak sandwiches on tonight. I make it following the Traditional Method. After the 2nd rise and just before you bake them make three slashes in the tops with a sharp knife... totally professional looking! Also if you don't have cornmeal on hand use cream o'wheat (aka farina) or sesame seeds. I use Bread Flour when making this bread and have found I need about 5.5 cups. I stir in about 4.5 and kneed in the last cup. This is a sticky dough to work with but it is delish... and relatively easy.