Friday, November 12, 2010

Great Artisan Bread

My friend Courtney Rice brought this recipe to an Italian dinner we had with the Italian special Olympians in 2009. You have to plan ahead but it is really good.
3 Cups Flour
1/2 Teaspoon Instant Yeast (I've been using the Bread Machine yeast for my loaves lately and seems to work just fine.)
1 1/4 Teaspoons Salt
1 1/2 Cups Water (lukewarm)

Decide when you want to eat the bread, and if you want it warm from the oven or not. Keep in mind that its harder to cut when its still very warm. The dough can sit and raise anywhere from 11-16 hours. The loaves the other night sat for about 14 hours total before going into the oven. For me I have found 12-14 hours tops to be the best. When you get towards 16 hours the bread tastes yeastier.

Mix ingredients together and cover with plastic wrap. 2 or 3 hours before you want the bread to be baked and out of the oven, loosely form into loaf on heavily floured surface and cover with dish cloth. Let rise for 1 1/2 to 2 hours.

Preheat oven to 450 degrees with covered cast iron or covered heavy pyrex pan inside. (My oven takes at least 20 min to do this, so make sure you plan you time accordingly to when you want the loaf in the oven with the rising time it needs.) When oven is ready, pull out pan and simply flip loaf into hot pan, cover and return to oven. No need to grease pan.

Bake bread 30 minutes with lid on. Remove lid and bake an additional 15 minutes more until golden. Remove loaf to cooling rack.

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