Saturday, January 14, 2012

Basic Hearth Bread

Last week, we observed a fast day and as tradition holds, I decided to bake a loaf of bread to break it on. I had just bought a brand new round baking crock and thought it would be the perfect time to break it in. After alot of internal debate (what was I thinking making a last minute baking decision?!) I decided to go with Rose's Basic Hearth Bread. I kind of sped up the process a bit so that my bread would be ready somewhat on time, and the result was really delicious. My bread came out singing a bit, which made me so happy. It would have sang more had I sufficiently heated the crock, but a little crackling is better than none! The bit of whole wheat flour in the dough gave the final loaf a nice creamy crumb. All in all, a basic but delicious loaf of bread at its peak when piping hot. Accompaniments? None necessary, take my word for it. I made this dough in the mixer and used all purpose flour, instead of bread flour. I also skipped the second rise because I just didnt have time for it.

Basic Hearth Bread
adapted from The Bread Bible

1 cup flour
1/4 cup whole wheat flour
3/8 tsp yeast
1 1/3 cups water

Remaining ingredients:
1 3/4 cups plus 2 tbsp flour
1/2 tsp yeast
1 1/2 tsp salt

In the bowl of you mixer, thoroughly whisk together the sponge ingredients to incorporate air.
Whisk together the remaining ingredients.
Sprinkle evenly over the top of the sponge.
Let ferment anywhere from 1-4 hours. The sponge should crack through the flour.
Using the dough hook, mix on low speed for one minute to moisten all ingredients. Let the dough rest for twenty minutes. Knead on medium for about seven minutes. The dough should be elastic and smooth but tacky.
Place in a greased bowl and grease the top. Cover and let rise until doubled.
Here is my dough. At this point, preheat your oven to about 475 using a baking stone if you have.
Shape. Allow to proof.
Slash and bake with steam.
Or in a crock. Bake ten minutes and then turn down to 425 until the bread registers about 200 in the center. Transfer to wire rack to cool completely. Enjoy!

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