bread baking tutorial part 1

There has been a discussion on Pattern Review, about bread machines and making peasant type bread.

I do lots of bread baking. Given that we live in an apartment, I don't like owning a whole lot of equipment. It just takes up too much room. This bread is basically idiot proof. My kids can, and do make it without very much intervention from me.

This is a vatiation on the no - knead Mark Bittman bread what has been creating a buzz on the internet. I have two problems with the Mark Bittman formula. The first is that when I followed his directions to the letter( Yes, I actually can follow directions to the letter, I just often improve things as I move along.) The results were often fermented tasting. Not pleasantly soured like sour dough but fermented and kind of yukky.

My other issue is that the dough is just plain repulsive to touch when the time comes to form the loaf. Not to get too graphic but when i followed his recipie, the dough was the consistancy of snot. This may not be as authenticbecause I use about twice as much flour as he does, but the results are terrific.

I also add whole grains to the dough. The whole grains add a great chewy texture. I also add the grains because my youngest has a pretty limited diet. This is a way for him to absorb a few more nutrients.
How to do it:

1- heat up 1 1/2-2 c water for 1 min in a microwave

2 -dump it in a bowl add 1 1/2 tsp yeast

3- I usually throw in a few haddsful of grain, barley, oats, spelt...

4- let it sit for several minutes until the yeast starts to grow

5 add about a Tbs of salt

6- add a cup of bread flour (My favorite is King Arthur Bread flour it is very high gluten and make a terrific bread) and stir with wooden spoon. Keep adding flour and stirring. The dough will be sort of wet and sloppy. Keep adding flour until it is too difficult to mix with a spoon and then switch to mixing with your hand. keep mixing/kneading the dough and adding flour until it pulls away from the bowl..

7.cover with a towel and let it rise for several hours.

The dough improves if you leave it in the fridge over night. Let it sit out in the kitchen for an hour or so before baking to warm up a bit before baking, if you do decide to let the dough rise in the fridge.

8. preheat oven to 450. throw some grain in the bottom of a heavy lidded pot ( to keep bread from sticking). Roughly form the dough into a round can slash the top if you want.

9-bake the bread covered in the pot for about 40 minutes. Then uncover until it sound hollow ehn you thunk it with your fist. You can bake it after only 4 hours of rising ( eliminating the long rise in the fridge). Baking it in the covered pot is what makes it amazing. I will post photos of the post rising part of the process in my next post.


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