|Print Recipe||Yield: 2 lb loaf|
• 3 1/2 cups (18.5-oz wt) bread flour
• 1 teaspoon fine salt
(use fine sea salt, kosher, or table salt)
• 1/4 teaspoon active dry yeast
• 1 1/2 cups water (room temp)
• additional flour for dusting
The key to success for any good recipe is to always use the freshest ingredients.
Use This Dough For:
1. In a medium bowl, mix the salt in the flour with a fork or whisk, then stir in the yeast. Slowly add the water1 and stir using a wooden spoon until you have a moist, (but not soupy), sticky dough. Don’t over mix, but make sure that all of the dry flour has been thoroughly incorporated into the dough and is sticky to the touch, otherwise mix in another tablespoon of water. With your spoon, clean the sides of the bowl as much as possible, then form a rough dough ball in the middle of the bowl. Double seal the bowl with plastic wrap, cover with a towel and set aside at room temperature (about 72°) for 8 to 18 hours. Usually after 12 hours the dough will be ready. You can tell by the dough developing lots of bubbles and more than doubling in size.2
(click images below to enlarge)
2. When the first fermentation is complete, dust your work surface with flour. Remove the plastic wrap from the bowl and lean the bowl at a 45 degree angle to slowly “pour” out the dough onto the floured surface. Use a plastic scraper if necessary, but try to keep the dough in one piece. The dough will be extremely loose, clingy and sticky. Dust the dough lightly, and with floured hands, fold under each of the four sides of the dough toward the center. Nudge and tuck in the edges of the dough to shape it into a round or long loaf, then place with the tucked seam side down to proof on the lightly floured surface. Place a moistened cotton kitchen towel (not terry cloth) loosely over the dough to cover then let it rise in a warm area for another 60 to 90 minutes. The dough is ready when it doubles in size. If you press it with your finger, it should hold the impression. If not, let it rise for an additional 15 minutes.
• Also see: How to Make Bread Dough
3. About a half hour before the dough has finished its second rise, move your oven rack to the middle position, place a heavy pot or Dutch oven in the center of the rack, and preheat the oven to 475 degrees. After 30 minutes when the oven and pot are preheated, score the dough with 3 angled slits across the top with a serrated bread knife for a loaf (or cut an “X” across the top for a round), then carefully remove the hot pot and gently place the dough in the pot. Cover and bake for 30 minutes.3 Remove the lid and continue baking for another 10 to 15 minutes until the bread is a deep chestnut color, but not burned. When the bread is done, carefully remove the loaf from the hot pot and place it on a wire rack to cool for at least 20 minutes before slicing.
Note: While this recipe is very forgiving, as with all baking recipes, it is important to follow it as closely as possible for the best results.
1. You can also substitute the 1 1/2 cups of water with a combination of 1 cup of water and 1/2 cup of lager beer. Use any mild lager beer (pale/light) such as Heineken, Amstel lager, Molson, Busch beer, Miller high life.
2. Fermentation time depends on a number of factors, especially the room temperature. A cooler environment takes longer (18 to 24 hours), while warmer temperatures may take as little as 8 to 10 hours. Salt is also a factor. The more salt added to the dough, the slower the yeast develops and longer the fermentation time. To determine when the first fermentation is finished and the gluten has developed, the dough should have more than doubled in size with lots of bubbles and will cling in long strands on the side of the bowl when you tilt it. To speed up the fermentation time, use warm or hot water (never boiling), a touch more yeast, a little less salt, then set the bowl aside to proof in a warmer room where the temperature is 78 to 80 degrees rather than the typical 72 to 74 degrees. If you accelerate the fermentation, keep in mind that more aroma and flavor is developed with longer rise times in cooler temperatures.
3. For a full 30 ounce loaf, bake for 30 minutes, then remove the lid and bake for an additional 10 to 15 minutes. If you are baking a 20 ounce loaf, bake for 20 minutes, then remove the lid and bake for an additional 5 to 10 minutes, or until bread is done but not burned. You can also use an instant read thermometer. Your bread should be done when the internal temperature reaches 210°F.