Wednesday, April 6, 2011

The Bread Has Risen!

Last week's flat top loaf was a let down. But I decided to ‘rise above’ it(sorry, bad pun intended), make another one and figure out what went wrong. This week's loaf was much better.

I used the same recipe, same type of yeast, and the same rising time. The only thing I changed was the baking method and container.

Yep. It was the pan. First time, I put the bread dough in an unheated pyrex glass casserole in a pre-heated oven set at 350.

Second time, I put the enamel cast iron casserole into a cold oven set at 400, let the casserole and oven heat for 30 minutes. I took out the casserole, put in the bread dough and baked it covered for 30 minutes, then, uncovered it and baked till brown.

The result: A crunchy outside and chewy deliciousness inside!

Here’s the recipe I used:
1 pkg. quick rise yeast
1 TBSP sugar
1to 1-1/4 cup warm water
Mix together and let sit until the yeast bubbles.
While that’s happening, mix this together in a large bowl:
2 cups flour(I like bread flour)
Note: you’ll be adding 1-2 cups more during kneading
1 tsp salt
Flavorings if desired such as minced garlic, grated cheese, rosemary, coarse pepper, basil or oregano
Stir the yeast mixture into the flour mix in bowl. Add more flour by the cup full to make a sticky dough. Shake more flour onto the counter top, kneading and adding flour as you go until the dough forms a smooth ball. Butter a bowl, roll the dough ball around to coat it all over, cover and let rise about 1 hour. Punch down the dough, cover again and let rise until double about 1-2 hours. Thirty minutes before the loaf is ready, place covered enamel cast iron casserole inside the oven and set to 400 degrees. After 30 minutes, take the casserole from oven, place the bread loaf inside, cover and bake. In 30 minutes, take the cover off the casserole and bake the bread until brown, about another 20 minutes.

I know preheating the casserole in the oven is a chore, but it does produce a nice crusty loaf of bread. I think it’s worth the trouble. Enjoy!

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