Julia's Guardian Angel Fund

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Welcome to my blog!

I'm a homeschool mom - with 5 kids (pregnant with 6). We have a variety of food allergies in our family, so not much here is made from a package. One thing large families need to survive is bread. I love to bake bread. I will be blogging here about bread baking, cooking with allergies and sometimes just about life in general.

Before I go much farther, I must give credit where credit is due. Much of what I'm blogging about comes from this web site:
Artisan Bread in 5 Minutes a Day

I love to bake. It's my escape from the real world of home schooling, keeping my very busy house running and the outcome of my escape is usually pretty good.

If you think I'm doing this blog for you, you are mistaken. I am keeping my blog to record recipes I use, along with changes and remarks because I'm better at keeping them on line than anywhere in my house where paper or even a journal is up for grabs as a new marker board.

The impetus for this blog was really the discovery of a bread making method that is totally unconventional. It's from the book Artisan Bread in Five Minutes a Day. Wow, what a concept! I'm on my third loaf today. Did I mention we have 5 very hungry kids and a pregnant momma?

I've taken some pictures of the baguettes (loaves 2 and 3). The first loaf was devoured before dinner. Bear with me as I figure more of this out...bread is a weird science, but, hey, Science was my favorite subject in school!

Here are the basic recipe rules:
2) Store prepared dough in fridge for up to 14 days, but don't wash the container before adding another batch...it improves the flavor, really.
3) You need a few tools: a baking stone, pizza peel, and 5 Qt. container (hence my plea for empty ice cream buckets).
4) Try the recipe the way it's written once before making modifications! This is not your usual bread recipe, so give it a chance. The key to this working is high hydration (very wet, sticky dough). Don't over flour it!
5) Keep the bread covered loosely in the fridge (not air tight).
6) Don't over work the dough (SEE # 1).

These are my very quick instructions on which I will elaborate as time permits:

Boule (Round ball of bread)

3 c. luke warm water 100-105 degrees

1 ½ Tbsp yeast

1 ½ Tbsp kosher salt

6 ½ c. all purpose flour

Add yeast and salt to water in a large bowl or Kitchen Aid mixer bowl. Add flour using dough hook until just incorporated. Transfer to a plastic 5qt bowl with a lid loosely covering the bowl. Let it rise at room temperature until it collapses on itself (approximately 2 hours). Put in fridge.

To bake:

Sprinkle pizza peel with cornmeal or whole wheat flour. Sprinkle surface of the dough with flour and pull off a grape fruit sized portion (about 1 lb) and cut with a serrated knife. Stretch and round the dough by pulling down to bottom in quarter turns. You need to do this as quickly and as gingerly as possible or you will deflate the dough. (NOTE: I can now shape a baguette in about 20 seconds, it just takes time to get used to the sticky dough). Allow dough to rest 40 minutes. About 20 minutes before baking, preheat oven to 450 degrees with a baking stone on the middle rack and a empty broiler pan on the rack below. Before putting into the oven, brush surface with flour and slash dough with 1/4' cuts with a serrated knife.

Quickly jerk dough onto baking stone and add 1 cup hot tap water to broiler pan. Bake 30 minutes or until dark golden brown.

Dough is good in fridge for 2 weeks.

For a baguette, use whole wheat flour on peel and only bake for 20 minutes.

I'll add more tomorrow. Right now the freshly milled, whole wheat dough needs to be mixed before bed time.

Until tomorrow!

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