Wednesday, March 19, 2014

Artisan Bread - A little taste of childhood

Artisan bread tastes and smell like home

The smell of fresh baked bread brings a lot of dear memories to me. I used to help my grandmother each Saturday to prepare the dough, set the brick oven and prepare the bread for baking. It was made with a few and simple ingredients and had such an authentic country-side flavor that tickled all your senses. The thick and crunchy crust covered a smooth and aerated crumb. 

Artisan bread that tastes and smell like home

No bread is better than the one you baked it yourself or with your love ones. The house will never smell more beautiful and more homey and cozy.
I strongly believe that choosing a few and basic ingredients is the best way when it comes to baking bread. This recipe has only 6 components and so easy to prepare that you should at least give it a try!

Yield: 1 bread                                   Time: 3 hours 30 minutes

Ingredients:
  •  500 g (5 cups) cups stiffed flour
  • 250 ml (1 cup) water
  • 1/2 fresh yeast cake (9 g)
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon cider or white vinegar
Directions:
  1. The first step is called proofing. In a small bowl, add 60 ml ( 1/4 cup) of warm water (not hot), yeast and sugar and mix it until the yeast is dissolved. Set aside for 5 minutes or until it gets bubbly. 
  2. If you don't have a standing mixer, the next steps can be done by hand. In a medium bowl, add the water and the yeast mixture.
  3. Gradually add the flour with one hand, while mixing constantly with the other. At the beginning, it is a bit messy but don't be scared. At this point, add the salt and the vinegar. Progressively, add the rest of the flour. Do not add the salt at the beginning because it disrupts the yeast activity.
  4. Start knitting the dough,  for 15 minutes, until a compact dough with no lumps is formed. It easily removes from the bowl's wall.
  5. Using the stand mixer: attach the dough hook, add the  flour, water and yeast mixture. Start mixing at a low speed.
  6. Once the flour and the water have been mixed in a more compact composition, you can increase the speed to medium. Let the mixer knit for about 10 minutes.
  7. Cover the bowl with a clean kitchen towel and place it in a warm place for 2 hours.
  8. After 2 hours, the dough should double or triple the size.
  9. Preheat the oven to 195°C (380°F).
  10. Drizzle a little olive oil on a baking tray.
  11. On a well-floured surface, carefully remove the dough from the bowl. You will notice many little holes. This makes the crumb aerated.
  12. Form a ball and place it on the baking tray.
  13. Place the baking tray in a warm place and allow the bread to rise for 20'.
  14. Bake the bread for 40-45'.
  15. Remove the bread from the oven and transfer it on rack. Cover the warm bread with a kitchen towel and let it cool.
Enjoy this lovely recipe and the smell of warm bread!

Tips and Tricks:
  • Are you looking for a good use for 3 or less days old bread? Bake the bread slices for 10-15 at 180 C (350 F), add them to the food processor and voilĂ , you have homemade bread crumbs! Use them in meatballs, chicken parmigiano and fish dishes.


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