Ohiofarmgirl's Adventures in The Good Land is largely a fish out of water tale about how I eventually found my footing on a small farm in an Amish town. We are a mostly organic, somewhat self sufficient, sustainable farm in Ohio. There's action and adventure and I'll always tell you the truth about farming.

Monday, February 15, 2016

What a loaf!

Thanks so much to my pal, S, who reminded me about this terrific way to make bread!  My loaf turned about beautifully.

Wow what a loaf!

I didn't exactly follow the exact receipe as there are a million ways to make bread. Mostly it's just flour, water, salt, yeast...and time. But how you combine those few ingredients make all the difference.

What is a good bread recipe? Take your pick....

But when I want to start a "real" loaf of bread then I start the day before with this method. The real key to making such a beautiful loaf was that I baked it in one of my Le Creuset pans.

Put the dough in the pan for the last rise (lid on). Just before baking rub a little olive oil over the bread surface, score with a sharp knife, then put the entire thing into the oven for about 25 minutes. Take the lid off and let the bread bake uncovered until it is a beautiful golden brown and the internal temperature is 200*. How easy is that? (read all the details here)

Bread making isn't magical.. it's mostly science. How you handle the dough, the time you let it rise, and the moisture you put into it really create the character of the bread. It helps if you have a $12,000 professional oven... or maybe a cob oven like this....  but you can make a good loaf right in your regular old oven.

If you struggle with bread making then here are a few tips:
  1. Get good yeastand proof it - that is.. make sure it is fresh. Then put the yeast in a small bowl, add a little sugar, then some 100* water. Let it set until it gets foamy.
  2. Don't be in a rush. Let the dough rise in a warm area.
  3. Make sure your oven is hot. Turn it on about an hour before baking time. While the oven is heating up you can put your loafs on the warm oven to rise.
  4. Let it bake long enough. Most recipes will tell you the internal temperature to check to see when it is done.
  5. Let the loaf set for a few minutes once you take it out of the oven - this completes the cooking process.

You can also do your research. Of course, my favorite resource is Marcella Hazan's Essentials of Classic Italian Cooking. She has a huge section dedicated to bread making. She will tell you to put down the fancy kitchen equipment and just old school it. But I like to use my KitchenAid.

Another terrific reference is The Bread Bible.But I have to warn you... it might scare you off. There is a ton of technical information on this book that, frankly, makes me roll my eyes. But if you are more nerd than chef this might be the book for you. Just don't freak out over all the steps.

It looks like we are getting a break in the weather... after we are tormented with freezing rain and a rain/snow mix... but thank heavens our temperatures will moderate.

We had a great weekend laying around and baking bread. How are you doing? Did you bake some bread?

Happy Monday everyone!

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David said...

you say nerd like it's bad thing! :) nice loaf!

Ohiofarmgirl said...

ha, Dave! not at all. there is just WAY too much detail. some people like that - i do not. it reads as overthinking the process.

Unknown said...

Yum! I used to use our breadmaker to make a "soaked dough" and then put it in the woodstove to bake, haven't done it for a while though. I put in lots of seeds :)

Vera said...

I bake our own bread, but when I mismanage my time and so have to buy bread from the local supermarket...yuk! what horrid stuff they sell, I am sure that cardboard would taste better! I am going to have a go at making my own sourdough one of these days.....

. said...

Now officially inspired, so I have bread rising about 2' over my head. (warmest room, close to the ceiling) There's a very good chance it'll end up as a few nut rolls, and a spiral cinnamon raisin loaf.

Thanks OFG, it's a carbtastic kind of day and this is perfect.

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