Hey Sherrill, remember a couple of years ago when everyone and their dog (including us!) was making this recipe? Well, I've moved on to another recipe... actually returned to an old one! The original recipe for James Beard's "French Style Bread" appears in the book Beard On Bread, which was first published in 1973. I've made this recipe off & on since my college days, but recently I've adapted it to the "in a pot" baking method used in the ever-popular no-knead bread.
Why? Well, a couple of reasons. One, I like a recipe that can be ready to serve, start to finish in 3 or so hours. For the wet dough, no-knead bread, it's necessary to plan ahead a day... and planning ahead on my busy schedule is not always my strong suit. Two, the kids (and the man!) seem to prefer the softer texture of this bread. Unlike the no-knead bread, this recipe results in a tender bread instead of a chewy bread-- a consistency much preferred by little ones and, apparently, fussy men. Baking the bread in the cast iron pot still yields a bread with a nice crunch crust, but it take decidedly less jaw strength to bite & chew this bread!
The drawback, of course, is that this is not a no-knead recipe. But if you're anything like me (and I think you are!), you probably use your KitchenAid Stand Mixer to do most of your mixing & kneading for you anyhow. You could, of course, knead this by hand, if you're in the mood to be a purist!
|Stuff you'll need. You won't need the spoon if you have a mixer, but this one was my grandma's-- isn't it cool? :)|
Yield: 1 very large round loaf !
- 1 1/2 tsp active dry yeast
- 1 TBS granulated sugar
- 2 cups warm water (~110 degrees)*
- 1 TBS salt
- 5-6 cups unbleached white bread flour (hard wheat flour)
- The best really is King Arthur!
- approx. 1 TBS olive oil
*trick for getting the water to the correct temp-- bring water to a boil in kettle. Add one
cup boiling water to bowl. Add one cup cold water from the refrigerator pitcher to the hot water. You can use a thermometer to measure the temp if you want, but this method has
worked perfectly for me! Using the finger method, the water should feel unmistakably
warm, but not hot.
Into stand mixer bowl, pour 1 cup boiling water & one cup chilled water from thefridge. Add the 1 TBS sugar & the 1 1/2 tsp of dry yeast. With the dough hook, mix
ingredients a bit, just so all the yeast isn't sitting on top of the liquid, and let the mixture
stand until the yeast dissolves & starts to bubble a bit.
If you need to provide a warm place for you dough to rise, while you're "proofing" theyeast, turn your oven up to 200 degrees. Once it's preheated, turn it off again & prop
the door open.
After 10 minutes or so, the mixture in your bowl should look something like this:
If there's no foaming going on, either your yeast is bad or your water was too hot. Dumpit out & start over! Okay, if everything's a go with your yeast, add 3 cups of the flour and the salt to the bowl & mix on the lowest setting for two minutes or so or until it looks like this:
Add the remaining 2 cups of flour and continue mixing on low for about 5 minutes,allowing the machine to rest every minute or so (Yeah... learned this tip the hard way! I'mon my second mixer!). At some point, the dough will start to pull away from the sides of thebowl and form a ball, like this:
Touch the dough with your finger. It should feel springy, but not sticky. If the dough isstill sticking to your fingers or to the bowl at this point, add a little more flour, about 1/4cup at a time, and continue mixing until the dough is firm & springy, and not sticky.
Brush the inside of a bowl with olive oil. Remove dough from the mixer, form into a ball, and place it seam-side down in the bowl.
Cover the bowl with a plastic bag or a plate or a damp cloth towel and place it in yourfavorite warm place (or the oven that you warmed up & turned off while waiting forthe the yeast to proof). Let the dough rise for 90 minutes or so.
When the bread is done rising, it will almost fill the bowl, and when you poke it withyour finger, the indentation will stay in:
|If you have one of the bakelite knobs on your pot, you'll want to remove it!|
- Uncover and bake for another 15-20 minutes or until the crust is a dark golden
|Luckily the loaf did not split! (Slashing the top will prevent splitting.)|
ETA: I made this bread again... here's a photo of tonight's loaf,
and the girlie... and her silly face!
P.S. I don't know what's up with the formatting in this post, but I'm sick of dinking with it! I'll come back later & fix it when Blogger isn't being a b*tch.