European Peasant Bread

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No longer a newbie, but still clueless.
Mar 18, 2012
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DC Suburbs
The recipe is from "Artisan Bread in Five Minutes a Day". It oversimplifies things a bit (which is good for me), but I like the theory. This is enough for 3 loaves. The idea is you mix it up and let it rise. You can then store the dough in the fridge for up to two weeks. And actually a week+ improves the bread, giving it some sourdough-like qualities. Having some 'ready to go' bread dough in the fridge makes it easy to have fresh bread on those busy weeknights. Here goes:

3 cups of lukewarm water
1.5 TBS of granulated yeast (2 packets)
1.5 TBS of kosher salt
.5 cups of Rye Flour
.5 cups of whole wheat flour
5.5 cups of unbleached all-purpose flour
cornmeal or semolina flour for the pizza peel. (I greatly prefer the semolina - it doesn't burn as easily as cornmeal)

Mix the yeast and salt with the water in a 5 quart bowl, or lidded (not airtight) food container.

Mix in the remainind dry ingredients without kneading, using a spoon, food processor with dough attachment or heavy duty stand mixer with dough hook. If not using a machine, you may need to use wet hands to incorporate the last bit of flour.

Cover (not airtight) and allow to rest at room temp until the dough rises and collapses (or flattens on top) - approximately 2 hours.

The dough can be used immediately, though it is a little easier to handle when cold. It can be refrigerated covered (not airtight) for up to 14 days.

Dust the surface of the refrigerated dough with flour and cut off a 1lb piece. Dust with more flour and shape it into a ball by streching the surface of the dour around to the bottom on all four sides, rotating the ball a quarter turn as you go. Allow it to rest and rise on a cornmeal (or semolina) covered pizza peel for about 40 minutes.

Preheat the oven to 450 for at least 20 minutes with a baking stone on the middle rack. Place an empty broiler pan on any other shelf that won't interfere with the rising bread.

Sprinkle the loaf liberally with flour and slash a cross, 'scallop', or 'tic-tac-toe' pattern into the top using a serrated bread knife. Leave the flour in place for baking, but tap some of it off before slicing.

Slide the loaf directly onto the stone. Pour 1 cup of hot tap water into the broiler tray and quickly close the oven door. Bake for about 35 minutes, or until the top crust is deeply browned and very firm. Smaller or larger loaves will require adjustments in time.