09 July 2010

THE bread.

I promised I would blog about the bread in the burger post, so here goes!

Artisan Bread in Five Minutes a Day: The Discovery That Revolutionizes Home BakingA couple of years ago my husband handed me an article he found in Mother Earth News. This article was an interview and recipe from the authors of Artisan Bread in Five Minutes a Day... 5 minutes??! Wow, I was ON BOARD. Turns out it took me a few more minutes to really get the hang of it (I was not an accomplished dough handler, mind you), but now that I have the master recipe memorized, it takes just a few minutes! 
Lemme 'splain to you...

Jeff & Zoe's master recipe is water, yeast, salt, and flour
Here's how simple it is:
* I stir 3 cups warm water with 1-1/2 Tbsp yeast and 1-1/2 Tbsp salt in my stand mixer bowl with a spoon (you could use just a big bowl and a spoon if you don't have a mixer... you'll be buff by the end of the year).
* I add 6-1/2 cups of flour, then turn the mixer on (with a dough hook) just until the flour is totally wet.
* I put a piece of plastic wrap on the bowl loosely.
* Done.

Well, for 2 hours. Then, I either transfer the dough to a lidded container and stick it in the fridge, or use it right away. This is the recipe for the master boule and from this comes any number of things in the book, which is AMAZING! My buddies gave me the book for my birthday last year so that I could have the treasury of endless possibilities. It has recipes for practically everything you love and never thought you could make at home. I've made bagels, cinnamon rolls, ciabatta, pizza, sourdough, and the beautiful peasant loaf that's on the cover of the book. Seriously, I wanted to cry the first time I opened up the oven and saw the golden, criss-crossed, crackling crust of my peasant loaves. Soft, chewy inside... Crispy shell on the outside. Oh yeeeeahhhh.


Oh yes, and here's how to make the ciabatta
(in my own words, per Jeff & Zoe's FAQ):


If you have a pizza peel, dust it with flour fairly liberally. With wet hands, grab and cut off a baseball sized chunk of dough with a serrated knife. Smoosh it with both wet hands, then pull the dough around -- with my left hand I hold the dough, with my right hand I pull the top to the bottom then rotate. Basically you pull in quarter turns so you're kind of making a "round square." I know, but it's true. Try it!

Anyway, place the dough on the floured peel and dust the top with more flour. Put your pizza stone and boiler tray in the oven and turn it to 450ºF. Let the dough rest for 20 minutes, then slide your bread onto the hot stone. Since it was so wet you may have to use a metal spatula to move it from the peel to the stone. Just before you close the oven door, pour about 1 cup of lukewarm/room temp water into the hot boiler tray and shut the steam in quickly. Bake for 20 minutes and, voilà! Golden, chewy ciabatta rolls for your eating pleasure.