A wonderfully simple crusty bread with great open crumb complete in 3 hours
I read too many recipes. I mean way too many. I get confused about what technique is where with what recipe. I see too many things I want to try. This has things from at least four recipes.
So this is what I wanted to do, and it worked wonderfully.
1) I’ve done no knead bread to get the texture. I don’t mind kneading in my Kitchenaid stand mixer. I believe the second rise usually gives a finer texture, so I’m skipping that.
2) I wanted to use ingredients that we all have setting in our kitchens.
3) I want a crusty loaf, so I’m using the dutch over.
4) I wanted a bigger loaf since I was going to bake in the Dutch oven and I didn’t want a pancake due to the large diameter.
5) I wanted a high liquid to flour ratio to keep the open texture.
6) I would do a loose mix initially and let it set for a while to help hopefully in gluten formation.
This dough is very wet. This can not be kneaded by hand. Also because of the wet dough, the rise must be contained in some manner and transfer to the dutch oven would be almost impossible without the parchment paper.
The Dutch oven and the brushing with water gives the nice crust.
My thoughts about bread recipes.
1) They are all over the place in technique. It makes me feel that many be some of the “worship” of “this and that” are not that important.
2) In it simplest form, bread is flour, water, yeast and salt. All these can be varied or added to with milk, egg or whatever.
3) The most important thing to getting an ate-able loaf is the flour to liquid ratio.
4) Some attention needs to be paid to gluten formation. The prolonged rise in some no knead bread. The sponge and starts. Kneading.
5) Your final cooking technique (the baking) affects the crust more than the center.
Results: 7.5 crust 8 open texture 8 taste 8 internal strength 7 a little crumbly with cold butter
Total time: a little under 3 hours from start to cooling rack.
Notes for modification: A drier dough should perform well. I think it will end up with about 4 1/2 to 5 cups of flour to firm up the dough. But then you could hand knead if you want. This will make a very large loaf, but my dutch oven is good for it. Or you could divide the dough to make several smaller loaf. A second rise would probably make the internal structure finer but stronger and may have some effect on taste. I’m going to eliminate the oil and either just leave it out or use butter instead. I wanted the egg for flavor but it should be fine without it.
Tools: Dutch oven, stand mixer
4 cups Flour (I just used Gold Medal unbleached all-purpose) plus a little later
2 cups minus (volume of the egg) Water 105-110 degrees
1 T Yeast (active dry)
1 T Sugar
1 1/2 t Salt
3 T Vegetable oil
2) Remove the egg and stir in the yeast and sugar. Let proof for 5-10 minutes until frothy.
3) While yeast is proofing, mix flour, salt in stand mixer bowl. Put on the dough hook and mix dry for several minutes.
4) When yeast is frothy. Turn mixer on 1. Add half the yeast mixture, the egg, vegetable oil. Add rest of yeast mixture. Mix on 2 for 2-3 minutes while scraping the sides to be sure all is incorporated.
5) Remove mixing bowl and cover with plastic wrap for 20 minutes.
6) Place bowl back on the stand mixer and lower the dough hook and turn on 1. Slowly add more flour until dough starts to pull off the side of the bowl. It took about 4 T for me.
7) Knead on 2 for 10 minutes.
8) Place a large square of parchment paper in a large mixing bowl or pie pan.
9) Move dough onto the parchment paper. Dust top with flour. Cover with plastic wrap and towel.
10) Rise in a warm spot and allow to rise until double in size. About 1 hr 20 minutes.
11) At least 30 minutes before end of rising. Preheat oven to 450 with a dutch oven on middle rack.
12) Transfer dough on parchment paper to the dutch over. Cross cut top and brush heavily with water.
13) Bake covered for 30 minutes. Remove top and decrease oven temp to 400.
14) Continue to bake until internal temp is approx. 205. About 15-20 minutes.
15) Remove to rack. And let cool for 30 minutes before cutting.
August 13, 2016