Friday, February 10, 2012
For those that have known my cooking repertoire, I rarely bake. I don't know why — maybe it's just something about baking — I mean, you have to be so exact with measurements and I just cannot cook like that. When I post my recipes or "cook" of course I say a 2T of this or that but that is really just a recommendation. If you like more raisins in you Guinness beef stew then heck, put more raisins in it. Not necessarily true when you are baking though.
That is — until I came across this recipe on A Sweet Spoonful for rustic whole wheat bread.
2 cups whole wheat flour
1 cup bread flour
1 1/t table salt
1/2t instant or dry active yeast
1 1/3 cups cool water
Additional flour for dusting
Preparation (compliments of A Sweet Spoonfull):
In a medium bowl, stir together the flours, salt, and yeast. Add the water and, using your hands or a wooden spoon, mix until you have a sticky, wet dough — about 30 seconds. Cover the bowl and let sit at room temperature until the surface is doted with bubbles and the dough is more than doubled in size, 14-18 hours.
When the first rise is finished, generously dust a work surface with flour. Use a rubber spatula or bowl scraper to scrape the dough out of the bowl in one piece. Using lightly floured hands or a spatula, lift the edges of the dough in towards the center. Tuck in the edges to make it round.
Place a tea towel on your work surface and generously dust with flour. Place dough on towel, seam down and dust top lightly with flour. Fold ends of towel loosely over dough and place in a warm, draft-free spot to rise for 2-3 hours. The dough is ready when it is almost doubled. If you gently poke it with your ginger, it should hold the impression. If it springs back, let it rise for another 20 minutes.
Half an hour before the end of the second rise, preheat the oven to 475 F with a rack positioned in the lower third, and place a covered 4 1/2 – 5 1/2 quart heavy pot in center of rack. Using pot holders, remove the preheated pot from the oven and uncover it.
Unfold the tea towel quickly but gently, invert the dough into the pot, seam side up. Be careful — the pot is hot! Cover the pot and bake for 30 minutes.
Remove the lid and continue baking until the bread is a deep chestnut color but not burnt, 15-30 minutes further. Use a heat-proof spatula to carefully lift out of pot and place on rack to cool completely.
So I was precise and did bake — but the hardest part for me was timing. 14-18 hours for the first rise was painfully long to wait as I peeked ever so quietly on several occasions. Not sure why I was so quiet but I do remember my grandmother saying "don't run in the hall or the bread will fall" — being why I sneaked up on it rising. Though, I believe I could have danced and this recipe would not have failed.
Fresh bread makes the house smell so good on a winter day. I'm hearing in RVA we might have a little winter temperatures this weekend. You have the ingredients in your pantry — just start it Friday night so you can E.A.T. fresh bread on Saturday!
E.A.T. local E.A.T. well