Monday, January 19, 2009

The Need to Knead

Ready for the the next step?  
My pre-ferment has been sitting for a good 16 hours, and is pretty much ready to go.  It only takes a minute to mix up the final dough. 

In a second bowl add the following ingredients:
1 1/2 cups Warm Water
1/2 tsp Instant Yeast (OR 1 Tablespoon Active Dry Yeast)
9.6 oz (2 1/4 cups) Unbleached Bread Flour
3.2 oz (3/4 cup) Whole Wheat Flour
3.2 oz (7/8 cup) Rye Flour*
1/2 Tablespoon Kosher Salt

Mix with a spatula or wooden spoon until combined.  Continue to mix, and gradually add in chunks of the pre-ferment.  As you can see, I already have everything in my stand-mixer bowl, so I could transfer it right to the mixer in order to knead it (using the spiral or dough hook attachment).  

(I love my new apron.  My mom made it.  Yeah, she rocks.)

You can certainly knead it by hand as well, just flour your work surface and have at it.  Pound it, smoosh it, pull it, smack it, fold it, etc etc for a good 8-10 minutes.  
Or, if you have a stand mixer, just turn it to medium-low speed and walk away for 4-6 minutes.  I washed out the bowl I had the pre-ferment in at this point.  I ended up adding about another half a cup of flour to my dough as it was being worked.  

The dough will be pretty soft and moderately loose, but it shouldn't be wet or falling apart.  Spray a bowl with non-stick cooking oil and dump in the kneaded dough.  Cover with plastic wrap and seal again with the rubber band.  And let it sit for an hour.  Go ahead, check your email.  Do a load of laundry.  After an hour or so has passed, sprinkle some flour on your work surface and carefully scrap the dough out of the bowl.  

All you have to do here is fold the dough in half a time or two.  Simply (and gently!) grab one edge of it and pull it over to the opposite side.  You don't want to push or knead it anymore, we're just folding it a bit.  I spray the bowl with a little bit more cooking spray at this point, but you can make the call, depending on how much the dough stuck to the bowl in the first place.  Cover it up again, seal it off, and again - just let it sit and rise for another hour.  After this second hour, you'll fold it one more time, in exactly the same fashion.  

Then, it will rise for another half hour, and you'll be ready to shape it into loaves.

*I was SURE I had rye flour when I started this recipe last night.  But alas, when I opened my pantry this morning, there was none to be found.  I just added extra whole wheat flour in its place.

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