Tuesday, March 24, 2009
The subject of free form embroidery has been discussed. Now let's talk about something new in my kitchen --- free form bread baking! Artisan breads are crusty, hand-formed breads that are compact in crumb and delicious in flavor. Two of my friends, Clarice and Karleen, have been experimenting with them and their efforts have encouraged me to try my hand at it. What fun I've been having experimenting and sharing loaves of bread with friends who stop by for a visit! Fast and easy, you can't go wrong with this recipe. I've adapted their recipes to fit my cooking style.
3 cups warm water
1 Tbsp. 1 tsp. mineral salt*
1 1/2 Tbsp. active dry yeast
6 cups all-purpose flour**
Mix all ingredients together and stir until moist. Cover bowl and place in fridge for two hours. Then remove and place dough on floured countertop. Sprinkle flour on top and work dough until it feels solid and smooth to the touch (you won't need much additional flour). Divide dough into four sections.
Form each section into a round or oblong loaf. Place on an ungreased cookie sheet that has been sprinkled with cornstarch. Score the tops of the loaves with a sharp knife. Allow to rise for about 30 minutes. Then place a small bowl of water in the bottom rack of a cool oven and then preheat oven to 450 degrees. Place loaves in oven and bake for 20 - 25 minutes.
Remove from heat and brush with olive oil. Cool and slice to eat or place in zip-locks to store.
*I use REAL Salt brand of mineral salt; it has a very good flavor and isn't too 'salty'
**Whole wheat flour works for this recipe as well. Use 50% whole wheat and 50% all-purpose flour or 100% whole wheat.
***So far, I haven't worked out a gluten-free version of this recipe (for those who may ask). Maybe in time. . .in the meantime, the kitchen is divided for the gluten-free and the non-gluten-free.