Despite the amount of bread I bake, I same still relatively new to bread. Artisan bread specifically is a different, difficult beast. The shaping requires talent, as does the slashing and proper baking. You need to know your oven and you have to feel comfortable with your flours and your kneading times. Most of all, you need to be comfortable with your starter, which I'm still figuring out.
I started baking with this bread recipe from the Cheeseboard Recipe Book. It's more complex than a standard white sourdough with a great flavor. Yet it's more simple than recipes from Tartine or a lot of other books. I'm growing out of this recipe, but I figure it's a good place to start when still learning simple sourdough bread baking.
- 22 oz bread flour
- 3.75 oz whole wheat flour
- 3 Tbsp wheat bran
- 2 cups cool water
- 1 Tbsp and ½ tsp salt
- 1 cup (5 oz) sourdough starter
- Sift together flours and bran. Add water and stir until moistened and combined.
- Let dough rest 10 minutes. Add salt and sourdough starter
- Knead for 15 minutes by hand or in stand mixer until bread pulls aways from the sides and is tacky but still springy and passes the window pain test. Do not over knead.
- Place in oiled bowl and let rise in warm place for 5 hours or until doubled in size.
- Divide dough into two loaves and shape into lose rounds. Let rest 10 minutes.
- Shape bread into desired batards or boules and let rest another 4 hours or until increased in size by 1.5
- 45 minutes before baking, preheat oven with cast iron skillet in the bottom to 450 degrees.
- Just before baking bread slash tops and mist the loaves with water. Pour 1 cup cold water in pan and quickly up bread in oven. Bake for 5 minutes and add another cup of water to pan
- Bake 15 more minutes and rotate pan
- Bake another 25 minutes for a total baking time of 45 minutes. Let cool before serving.
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