Friday, February 27, 2009

Daily Bread

We've purchased very little bread so far this year, only twice when Henry has had a friend over and I have not had a bread they liked available for burgers at lunch time so far. All other bread we've baked from scratch and with a little better planning I can probably even stem that once a month send the kids to the store for burger rolls problem. Although I've written of it in previous posts I am still searching for that one recipe for a 100% whole wheat or 100% whole grain bread that is soft enough for a kids taste and texture buds to get behind and I will continue this search.

What I'm writing about today is a daily loaf or almost daily anyway. It seems that I've been able to get pretty close to perfecting my technique for producing a lovely crackly crust baguette in under an hour from start to finish and including all rest and bake time; easy enough to get in the oven shortly after getting home in the evening with a short enough time to have hot fresh bread with the evening meal. The recipe is thanks to the "Master Recipe" from Artisan Baking in 5 Minutes a Day but my oven and the somewhat moist air of the Puget Sound area have had me running through a few loaves before I got what I consider to be a really great baguette.

Master Recipe

Makes 4 each 14" baguettes

3 C warm water
1.5 Tbl Yeast
1.5 Tbl Kosher Salt
6.5 C All purpose flour

Mix it all together and let rise loosely covered for about 2 hours or until dough deflates slightly and turns flat on top
Refrigerate (The dough can be worked as soon as it deflates but is easier to shape when cool)
Remove ~1/4 of the dough and shape into a 14" rope & flatten to ~3/4" thick X 2" wide
Place on moderately floured pizza peel
Preheat oven with baking stone to 450F, started at this point it should allow sufficient time for the loaf to rest
Slash dough 3 times in long diagonals
Slide rested dough onto baking stone and pour ~1 cup of water onto the bottom of the oven to generate steam
After 10 minutes, pour another ~1 cup of water onto the bottom of the oven
Bake for 25 minutes
Remove to a cooling rack for minimum 15 minutes prior to serving

You'll get one of these

Notice the lovely structure

I'm very pleased with this loaf and plan to experiment more with it but I'm sold. I think this will make some fine burger rolls and this baguette will serve very well for grilled brats w/ mustard and kraut.

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