Sep 21, 2007

Confessions of a Bad Bread Baker

I LOVE to cook....
I LOVE canning...
I LOVE candy making...
But Bread?? Oh My!

I have always thought of myself as fearless and daring and willing to try new things in the kitchen....
expand my horizons.... venture out of my comfort zone..
etc etc etc...

But Making bread?
For some reason the baking bread of any kind other than
a quick bread intimidated the tar out of me!

I mean..
the ingredients sound simple enough....
Water, Flour, yeast, salt... simple.

But then ya have to knead it!
Too long and you mess it up...
Too short and ya mess it up..

Then ya have the Rise...
Sounds easy enough I mean just let it sit there and do its own thing...
Cool! THAT I can do!
But then you learn....
Too hot ya mess it up....
Too cold ya mess it up...
Too humid ya mess it up...

To the oven...
Too hot ya mess it up...
Not hot enough ya mess it up...
Mist it mess it up...
Don't mist it mess it up..

Oh and when your done baking it? (If you made it that far)
Cut it too soon and ....
Yep, you guessed it....

My Goodness!!
Why would you want to do that to yourself??
Setting yourself up for failure.

Well after years and years of hiding the shame.. I can finally say...
My Name Is Dana.... I'm a Bad Bread Maker.
Till today...
(yeah.. You didn't think I'd confess if I hadn't overcome it do ya??)

I have made a Great Loaf of bread!!!
Artisan Bread!
with a Golden Chewy Crust
Beautiful Crumb
and those cool holes all thru it
Just like from the bakery!!!

there is a secret tho...
A wonderful baker friend from
was kind enough to show me
the New York Times
No Knead Bread recipe!

I know, I know... No knead?
That's cheating! Well... maybe!
But I'm not gonna tell anyone!! are you??

Aint it Purdy??

Recipe: No-Knead Bread
Adapted from Jim Lahey, Sullivan Street Bakery
Time: About 1½ hours plus 14 to 20 hours’ rising

3 cups all-purpose or bread flour, more for dusting
¼ teaspoon instant yeast
1¼ teaspoons saltCornmeal or wheat bran as needed.

1. In a large bowl combine flour, yeast and salt. Add 1 5/8 cups water, and stir until blended; dough will be shaggy and sticky. Cover bowl with plastic wrap. Let dough rest at least 12 hours, preferably about 18, at warm room temperature, about 70 degrees.

2. Dough is ready when its surface is dotted with bubbles. Lightly flour a work surface and place dough on it; sprinkle it with a little more flour and fold it over on itself once or twice. Cover loosely with plastic wrap and let rest about 15 minutes.

3. Using just enough flour to keep dough from sticking to work surface or to your fingers, gently and quickly shape dough into a ball. Generously coat a cotton towel (not terry cloth) with flour, wheat bran or cornmeal; put dough seam side down on towel and dust with more flour, bran or cornmeal. Cover with another cotton towel and let rise for about 2 hours. When it is ready, dough will be more than double in size and will not readily spring back when poked with a finger.

4. At least a half-hour before dough is ready, heat oven to 450 degrees. Put a 6- to 8-quart heavy covered pot (cast iron, enamel, Pyrex or ceramic) in oven as it heats. When dough is ready, carefully remove pot from oven. Slide your hand under towel and turn dough over into pot, seam side up; it may look like a mess, but that is O.K. Shake pan once or twice if dough is unevenly distributed; it will straighten out as it bakes. Cover with lid and bake 30 minutes, then remove lid and bake another 15 to 30 minutes, until loaf is beautifully browned. Cool on a rack.

Yield: One 1½-pound loaf.
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1 amazing comments. Talk To Me!!:

Anonymous said...

I tried this bread yesterday. It was PERFECT!! thank you !!!

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