Sunday, January 18, 2009

Make Bread with Me!

Alright, get out your flour and yeast and let's get some dough mixed.  I've adapted the Rustic Bread recipe from Bread: A Baker's Book of Techniques and Recipes, by Jeffry Hamelman.  This is a terrific, detailed guide to making just about every type of bread under the sun, and I haven't come across a dud yet.  This recipe will yield 2 large, or 3-4 small- to medium-sized loaves.

So here we go.  Tonight, mix up the "pre-ferment."  This is your starter dough.  This is incredibly easy to stir together, it sits overnight, and will add a ton of flavor to your final bread.  

In a bowl add the following ingredients:
13.4 oz (1 3/4 cups) Warm Water
1/8 tsp Instant Dry Yeast (OR 3/4 tsp Active Dry Yeast)
1 lb (3 5/8 cups) Unbleached Bread Flour
.4 oz (heaping 1/2 Tablespoon) Kosher Salt

Combine with a spatula or wooden spoon until thoroughly mixed.  The dough will be stiff, dense, and a bit scraggly, but you shouldn't have any dry flour.  Add a few drops of water at a time if necessary to moisten it, or, if it is very wet, add a tablespoon of flour at a time.  Cover bowl with plastic wrap and seal with a rubber band.  Let sit 12-16 hours.  The pre-ferment will be domed and beginning to recede a bit in the center when it is ready to use (though we'll see a picture of that tomorrow!).

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