Ria's Collection: October 2013

Sunday, October 13, 2013


There was a time in my life when I thought I would never find a liking for artisan breads. I always loved the soft,supple bread loaves we used to get from our local bakeries in Kannur. If you go there are around noon or by 3 pm-ish, you will get hot breads which you will be juggling between your two palms because it is really that hot...straight from the 'borma'. I've never,tasted any bread which tastes as good as that bread in the US.I don't think I ever will. The breads we get in the supermarkets here have some sort of an artificial taste...all the brands,some more,some less.
Now, the story is different. I absolutely love artisan breads. They are firm and crackly on the outside but soft and full of holes inside.The holes help in mopping up any sauce that you want to.I love to dip a chunky slice in some good olive oil with a drizzle of balsamic vinegar and finally topped with some Parmesan. When I bake these breads at home,I can hardly wait for it to cool down. So does little Ian. He loves these kind of breads.He eats it as is but I like my first slice with butter or some good berry jam.
I knew about Zoe and Jeff  when I was in India. That's when their book Artisan Bread in 5 Minutes A Day was released.I was even more excited to learn that they both lived in the area I was about to move into...Minneapolis.This is the Master recipe from that book. So,after getting here,I enrolled for a baking class with them and learnt to bake bread from the best! You can read about that here.
3 cups of lukewarm water
1 tablespoon yeast
1 - 1 1/2 tablespoon salt
6 1/2 cups all purpose flour

Method: In a large 6 quart  plastic bowl / container with lid, mix together the flour, yeast and salt. Add in the water all at once and stir to form a dough.It will be a sticky dough. Cover the bowl with a lid,but not tightly shut, and let it sit at room temperature for 2 hours.DO NOT punch down the dough,it will would have risen but flat on top. After that, refrigerate the dough overnight. You will notice that the dough has collapsed which is normal.It will not rise again. Sprinkle some flour over the surface of the dough,pull and cut off a 1 pound chunk of it. Shape it and let it rest on a parchment for 40  minutes.
Preheat the oven to 450 F along with the baking stone and a metal tray in the lowest shelf. Slide the shaped dough onto the baking stone and pour one cup of hot water into the metal tray .Bake for 30-35 mins or until deep brown in colour. Remove the parchment after 20 minutes of baking so that the bottom gets a chance to crisp up. Once baked, remove it from the oven and let it cool completely before slicing in.Enjoy!

The leftover dough can be refrigerated and will remain fresh for 2 weeks. It will develop sourdough characteristics during the course of 2 weeks.
If you have any leftover bread, put the cut side down on a plate and leave it. You don't have to cover it.

Like I mentioned before, we really enjoy artisan breads. I am so glad that Little Ian also shares the love for this carb heaven! He was running around when I was photographing the bread and every once in a while he would stop by and point at the bread asking for me to cut and share a slice with him. So the slice with the jam, that you just saw above, was shared by the two of us later!

This wonderful loaf is Yeastspotted!
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