Saturday, January 18, 2014

Hearth Bread

2 1/4 teaspoon (1 packet) active dry yeast
1 tablespoon sugar
1 tablespoon salt
2 cups warm water (not over 110°F)
5 1/2 to 6 cups bread flour
cornmeal or flaxseed meal
boiling wate

  1. Mix together yeast, sugar, salt and 2 cups warm water and let sit for a few minutes
  2. Add flour until the dough pulls away from the sides of the mixing bowl
  3. Knead or mix in stand-mixer for about 5 minutes
  4. Return the dough to a greased bowl and turn it over once to grease the top. Cover with a damp towel and keep warm until the dough doubles in bulk, about 1 to 2 hours.
  5. Punch down the dough with your fist and briefly knead out any air bubbles. Cut the dough in half and shape into two Italian- or French-style loaves. Place the loaves on a cookie sheet generously sprinkled with meal. Let the loaves rest for 5 minutes.
  6. Lightly slash the tops of the loaves 3 or more times diagonally and brush them with cold water. Place on rack in a cold oven with a roasting pan full of boiling water on the oven bottom. Bake at 400°F for 35 to 45 minutes, until the crust is golden brown and sounds hollow to the touch.
  7. Alternate: For a lighter, crustier bread, let your shaped loaves rise for 45 minutes. Preheat the oven and roasting pan with water to 500°F for 15 minutes. Brush the loaves with cold water, place in the oven and bake for 10 minutes. Lower the temperature to 400°F and bake for 10 more minutes. Remove from the oven, let cool and devour!  


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