Baking the loaf:
5. The gluten cloak: don't knead, just "cloak" and shape a loaf in 30 to 60 seconds. First, prepare a pizza peel by sprinkling it liberaly with cornmeal to prefent your loaf from sticking to it when you slide it into the oven. Sprinkle the surface of your refrigerated dough with flour. Pull up and cut off a 1-pound (grapefruit-sized) piece of dough, using a serrated knife. Hold the mass of dough in your hands and add a little more flour as needed so it won't stick to your hands. Gently stretch the surface of the dough around to the bottom on all four sides, rotating the ball a quarter turn as you go. Most of the dusting flour will fall off; it's not intended to be incorporated into the dough. The bottom of the loaf may appear to be a collection of bunched ends, but it will flatten out and adhere during resting and baking. The correctly shaped final product will be smooth and cohesive. The entire process should take no more than 30 to 60 seconds.
6. Rest the loaf and let it rise on a pizza peel. Place the shaped ball on a cornmeal-covered pizza peel. Allow the loaf to rest for about 40 minutes (it doesn't need to be covered). Depending on the age of the dough, you may not see much rise during this period; more rising will occur during baking.
7. Twenty minutes before baking, preheat the oven to 450 F, with a baking stone placed on the middle rack. Place an empty broiler tray for holding water on any other shelf that won't interfere with the rising bread.
8. Dust and slash. Dust the top of the loaf liberally with flour, which will allow the slashing knife to pass without sticking. Slash a 1/4-inch-deep cross, tic-tac-toe or scallop, using a serrated bread knife.
9. Baking with steam. After a 20-minute preheat, even though your oven thermometer won't yet be up to full temperature. With a quick forward jerking motion of the wrist, slide the loaf off the pizza peel and onto the preheated baking stone. Quickly but carefully pour about 1 cup of hot water from the tap into the broiler tray and close the oven door to trap the steam. Bake for about 30 minutes, or until the crust is nicely browned and firm to the touch. Because you've used wet dough, there is little risk of drying out the interior, despite the dark crust. When you remove the loaf from the oven, it will audibly crackle, or "sing," when initially exposed to room-temperature air. Allow to cool completely, preferably on a wire cooling rack, for best flavor, texture and slicing. The perfect crust may initially soften, but will firm up again when cooled.
10. Store the remaining dough in the refrigerator in your lidded (not airtight) container and use it over the next 14 days. You'll find that even one day's storage improves the flavor and texture of your bread. This maturation continues over the 14-day storage period. Refrigerate unused dough in a lidded storage container. If you mixed your dough in this container, you've avoided some cleanup. Cut and shape more loaves as you need them. The dough can also be frozen in an airtight container and defrosted overnight in the refrigerator prior to baking day.
Saturday, August 22, 2009
Artisan Bread basic recipe, part 2
Subscribe to: Post Comments (Atom)
Post a Comment