Update & Fresh Bread

I was back in FLA for a few days (3)  in that time we turned our keys and officially moved out of our apartment, I sold my car, and had a wonderful farewell potluck at my parents’ home.

Now I am back at the airport, with my husband this time, heading to Minot, ND.  Where?  It’s where my husband was born and where his grandparents and 2 sets of aunts and uncles live.  I have been wanting to go visit but my husband assures me I will be disappointed.  I disagree.  I love spending time with his grandparents.  Partially because I lost one grandfather 7 years before I was even born and the other when I was almost 6.  My grandfathers have been dearly missed in my family and now I have one who welcomes me with open arms.  My husband’s grandmother reminds me of my own grandmothers except she is much younger.  My family is full of women both immediate and extended and my husband’s is full of men.  I think Annette, and I are welcomed additions by all women in his family.  🙂  Ok, I promised and here is the recipe for the bread Katie makes.

A friend gave Katie the recipe for Artisan Bread in Five Minutes a Day by Jeff Hertzberg and Zoë Francois.  It is easy, yummy and beautiful!  Basically you mix the dough, put it in a container in your fridge and you can make 4, 1lb. loafs of bread over the course of two weeks!  Katie keeps it in this container in the fridge:


3 Cups luke warm water

1.5 TBS granulated yeast (1.5 pkts)

1.5 TBS coarse kosher or sea salt

6.5 Cups unsifted, unbleached, all-purpose flour

Mixing and Storing the Dough

1. Use hot water from the tap (about 100 degrees)

2. Add yeast and salt in a 5-qt bowl or, preferably, in a resealable, lidded container that is not air tight.

3. Mix in the flour by gently scooping it up, then leveling it, don’t pat down. Mix with a wooden spoon, a high-capacity food processor with dough attachment, or a heavy-duty stand mixer with a dough hook, until uniformly moist.  If hand-mixing becomes too difficult, use very wet hands to press it together.  Don’t knead!  This step is done in a matter of minutes, and yields a wet dough loose enough to conform to the container.

4. Cover loosely. Do not use screw-topped jars, which could explode from trapped gases. Allow the mixture to rise at room temperature until it begins to collapse (or at least flatten on top), approximately 2 hours, depending on temperature.  Longer rising times, up to about five hours, will not harm the result.  You can use a portion of the dough any time after this period.  Refrigerated wet dough is less sticky and easier to work with than room-temperature dough.  We recommend refrigerating the dough at least 3 hours before shaping a loaf.  And relax! You don’t need to monitor doubling or tripling of volume as in traditional recipes.

On Baking Day

5. Prepare a pizza peel (wooden pizza spatula) by sprinkling it liberally with cornmeal to prevent the loaf from sticking to it when you slide it into the oven.

Sprinkle the surface of the dough with flour, then cup off a 1-lb. (grapefruit sized) piece with 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 four “sides”, rotating the ball a quarter-turn as you go until the bottom is a collection of four bunched ends.  Most of the dusting flour will fall off; it doesn’t need to be incorporated.  The bottom of the loaf will flatten out during the resting and baking.

6. Place the ball on the pizza peel. Let it rest uncovered for about 40 minutes. Depending on the dough’s age, you may see little rise during this period; more rising will occur during baking.

7. Twenty minutes before baking, preheat the oven to 450 degrees with a baking stone on the middle rack.  Place an empty broiler tray for holding water on another oven rack.

8.  Dust the top of the loaf liberally with flour, which will allow the slashing, serrated knife to pass without sticking.  Slash a 1/4 inch-deep cross, scallop or tick-tack-toe pattern in to the top.  This helps the bread expand during baking.

9. With a forward jerking motion of the wrist, slide the loaf off the pizza peel and onto the baking stone.  Quickly but carefully pour about a cup of hot water into the broiler tray (Katie uses a rectangular baking pan) and close the oven door to trap the steam.  Bake for about 30 minutes, or until the crust is browned and firm to the touch.  With 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 audibl crackle, or “sing”, when initially exposed to room temperature air.  Allow to cool completely, preferably on a wire rack, for best flavor, texture and slicing.  The perfect crust may initially soften, but will firm up again when cooled.

10. Refrigerate the remaiing dough in your lidded (not airtight) container and use it over the next two weeks: You’ll find that even one day’s storage improves the flavor and texture of your bread.  This maturation continues over the two-week period.  But off and shape loaves as you need them.  The dough can also be frozen in 1-pound portions in an airtight container and defrosted overnight in the refrigerator prior to baking day.


2 responses to “Update & Fresh Bread

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