Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Baking Bread

I don't remember where I found this recipe... so if it's yours or you know where it came from, let me know! It's been on a post-it inside a cookbook for a while! :oP

Anyway, this is my go-to bread recipe. I make a batch of dough, keep it in the fridge and then pull out and bake what I need. I replenish my dough as needed. It's a french bread, although over time, it's started taking on a sourdough flavor as I don't wash out the container I keep my dough in... kind of a starter if you will.

Bread Dough
1 1/2 tablespoons yeast
1 1/2 tablespoons kosher salt
3 cups warm water
6 1/2 cups flour (all purpose... I haven't adjusted it for wheat yet)

Preheat the oven to 450*F. Make sure your pizza stone is on the middle rack, and place a broiler pan underneath it.
Mix the yeast, salt and water in a big bowl with a lid (not airtight). Then add the flour, mixing it until the flour is all mixed in. It will be a pretty wet/sticky dough... and that's ok. Let it set for an hour at room temperature, or you can just put it in the fridge for up to 2 weeks. Then you can add a good amount of flour over the top, reach in and grab about a softball sized ball (you can adjust if you want) and sprinkle a bit of flour over the top. Work the top of the dough under... sort of turning it in your hand. This stretches the glutens and helps shape the dough.

Place the dough ball on a floured or cornmeal covered pizza peel. Let the dough set for 40 minutes. Sprinkle a little flour on the top of the ball and make a few 1/4" slices in the top of the dough (the flour keeps it from sticking to the knife) using a serrated knife. This will allow the dough to rise and expand. It may not do a lot of rising before baking but don't be discouraged! It WILL do it in the oven!

Slide the dough onto the pizza stone, and pour 1 cup of hot water into the broiler pan below, and shut the door. The steam from the water bath will help create a yummy crispy crust! Bake for 30 minutes.


Angel said...

I don't have a pizza stone. can I just bake it on a cookie sheet or in a loaf pan instead? Yeast scares me, but this looks easy enough to try.

Tabitha said...

Hi Angel! You could likely use a cookie sheet, just be sure to put it in the oven without the bread to preheat the actual sheet!

Also, pizza stones are fairly inexpensive (I picked mine up at Bed,Bath&Beyond for $10) but you can also get unglazed quarry tiles from a home improvement shop that serve great as pizza stones!

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