Friday, November 19, 2010
Note: This is a two part series. Go here to see Part One of the series.
So, now that you've had your dough mixed and it's been in the fridge for a day, you can make your bread.
Again, this recipe came from the book: Artisan Bread in Five Minutes a Day: The Discovery That Revolutionizes Home Baking
Set up your trays with some parchment paper. I bought these baguette pans a while ago from a local store. Here's one on amazon tho: Fox Run 18 Inch x 2.75 Inch French Bread Pan A regular cookie sheet will work fine as well.
Okay, so you should have a tray set up, and also get some flour for dusting and a bread knife to cut the dough.
First off, dust your clean hands with flour, and also dust the part of dough that you're going to cut off.
With your clean flour dusted hands grab a chunk of dough. It should stretch well, Use the bread knife to cut off the piece of dough. I usually cut the size of a large orange or a small grapefruit.
When the dough is in my hand, I try to dust it with a bit more flour and then I try stretching it to a long baguette shape. You don't want to work with the dough too much so just stretch it and put it on the pan (or cookie sheet). You can attempt to stretch it to form a bit more uniformity once it's on the pan.
Dust it with a bit more flour and let it sit for 40 minutes. Sometime in that 40 minutes, you'll want to slash the bread. The slashes allow the steam to break out nicely. I've slashed the dough in the beginning on the 40 minutes and in the end of the 40 minutes, and I haven't noticed too much difference.
Note: It's also recommended that you use a pizza stone, just because it does a better job of retaining heat and giving consistent temperature. I really like the rectangle ones because it covers the oven shelf better. (Like this one: Old Stone Oven 4467 14-Inch by 16-Inch Baking Stone). :) The round one works too. That's the one I have.
In the last 10ish minutes of the dough rest period, you can start preheating your oven at 450 degrees F. Place the pizza stone in the oven and allow it to heat up while the oven preheats. I put the pizza stone on the rack near the lower middle of the oven. I put the other rack on the top most rack and added a pan (like the broil pan that comes with the oven) also while the oven preheated. We're going to put hot water in the pan once the oven is preheated, and that will provide the needed steam to help the crust form a nice crunch.
Okay, so when the oven is preheated. Heat up about a cup of water to boiling or near boiling.
Put the pan with your bread on the pizza stone, and pull out the other pan just enough to add the cup of boiling water to it. (Be careful pouring... boiling water hurts). Close the oven door once the water pan is pushed back to place. It's best to keep the oven door closed for the rest of the baking time -- You don't want to lose that precious steam. It will bake for 30 minutes. If it's not yet the color you want it to be, keep it in there for a bit longer.
Resist the urge to cut it open when it first comes out of the oven. Really... that too hurts. It will actually continue cooking for just a bit longer. But after it cools down some, you should be good to go. Enjoy.
We particularly like the bread with brie cheese. Mmmmmm.