Tuesday, July 23, 2013

Recipe: Slow-Rise Crusty Bread

For a long time now, I've seen recipes on blogs for a super simple crusty artisan bread that is just dumped into a hot dutch oven. It's one of those things that I've said I'll try one day, but I've never gotten around to making it.

Last week, Joey pointed out something he found online that he'd like to try. I think it was originally from a fb post, someone's summary of an easy to make crusty bread. I did some searching and found that it was from a food blog I follow, and better yet, the exact recipe I had pinned many months ago. Joey said he really wanted to try it, so I read the recipe a few times (as well as the forum for the many questions that came from that recipe - it seriously has thousands of comments!) and then made a plan. Originally, I was going to mix up the dough Saturday night, then bake it on Sunday so we could have it with dinner. It has a 12-18 hour rise, so this would work out well. But....I forgot to mix up the dough Saturday night! Whoops

Plans were changed, and we mixed up the dough together Sunday night, then planned on having it with dinner Monday night. It's a bit of a process on baking day, so we had the bread as a kind of after dinner snack. It was delicious! It got a really nice crusty exterior (Joey had to saw through it to cut it), with a chewy, sourdough-like interior.

I added some fresh herbs to the dough - a few sprigs of thyme and a few sprigs of rosemary. I just pulled off the thyme leaves and put them in whole, and chopped the rosemary.

I used active dry yeast because it's just what I have on hand. I'm thinking of purchasing some SAF instant yeast, since so many people swear by it. I proofed the yeast in 1/4 cup warm water, as she said, poured it into the flour, and then added the extra 1 1/4 cup water back to the cup where the yeast was, to rinse it out a bit.

My dough rose for ~21 hours before it was baked. I could tell looking at it, that it had started to deflate a bit. This could account for why we didn't see a huge oven rise.

I baked the bread in my 6.5 quart enameled cast-iron Tramontina dutch oven. The manual says that the lid is heat resistant only to 400 F, probably because the knob looks to be plastic, or at least it is made of a different material. I wrapped the knob with foil, and it worked just fine at 450 F.

Recipe: Slow-Rise Crusty Bread
From: Simply So Good

3 cups unbleached all purpose flour
1/2 tsp rapid rise or instant yeast (you can use active-dry if you proof it)
1 3/4 tsp kosher salt
1 1/2 cups water

In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, salt, and yeast. (If you are using active dry yeast, first add the yeast to 1/4 cup warm water, let it sit for 5-10 minutes until foamy, then add it to the flour, with the rest of the water.)
Add the water, and mix until it is a wet shaggy dough. Cover bowl with plastic wrap, and set aside for 12-18 hours.

Preheat oven to 450 F.
Once the oven has preheated, put the dutch oven (with the lid) in the oven. It will probably have to be on the lowest rack, and you might need to pull out any other racks in the oven.

Very liberally flour a surface. Scrape out dough, and gently form into a ball. Don't knead out the air bubbles! Sprinkle flour on top of the ball, and then cover with the plastic wrap that was on the bowl. Let sit 30 minutes.

Open the oven and pull out the rack with the dutch oven on it, and take off the lid. Flour your hands, pick up the dough, and then carefully and quickly drop it into the dutch oven. Be very careful - the dutch oven (and actual oven) is hot!! Put the lid back on, and bake for 30 minutes.

Carefully remove the lid (have some heat pads set up to put it on), bake for another 15 minutes.

Pull out the dutch oven, carefully pull out the bread, and put it on a cooling rack. Let cool (somewhat) before slicing.

Picture Tutorial:

Flour and salt in mixing bowl

Fresh rosemary and thyme from the garden

Herbs added to flour+salt mixture

Yeast and water added - all mixed up

Ready to rise overnight

About 10 hours after being mixed

See all the bubbles??

About 21 hours after being mixed - doesn't it look deflated compared to the 10hr post mixing picture?

Very gently formed into a round-ish shape

General idea of scale. It's a pretty small blob of dough

You can see the holes!

Beautiful loaf of bread

Sliced up

Now you can really see the holes inside!

We also attempted making "cauliflower rice" last night. We basically threw a whole head of cauliflower into the food processor, pulsed until they were in small bits, and then stir fried it in a large pan with a bit of oil. Then we used it as a base for our normal stir-fry of onions, mushrooms and peppers. It was pretty darn good.

"Rice" - before cooking


Stir-fry, with some baked fish