My son Anthony, who is a fantastic photographer, came home last weekend to take pictures of a few dishes for my blog. I made the ridiculous decision to do this on the weekend that my mom and sister and other family members were coming for the whole weekend. For my niece’s 13th birthday. Yes, a party. I had an ambitious menu planned, and I thought if I were preparing these dishes anyway, why not take pictures while I was at it? All of you seasoned food bloggers are probably either laughing or crying at my ignorance.
Because of all that I had to do I was quite frazzled, so there are gaps in my step-by-step photo tutorials. I spent the weekend feeling frayed at the ends. I can’t imagine how I over extended myself like that. I never do such things! (Just don’t ask anyone who knows me.)
Never mind my bad decision, I have a bit of bragging to do. Yes, again. Beside all his other awesome qualities, (I’m totally impartial) Anthony makes some really amazing bread. He took lots and lots of pictures for me, and still found time to teach me how to make this bread.
In spite of all the chaos, we had a great time, and I found my new favorite bread. It’s the easiest I’ve ever made. No kneading! I love that part. I believe it’s what makes the body of the bread so airy and light. With the second batch, I did knead it a little as I was incorporating the flour and then punching it down, and the texture was denser; like a nice heavy country bread. It was still good, but not quite like the artisan bread we were supposed to be making.
I’m thinking of trying this recipe for pizza crust now that Anthony has opened the door for me. Do you know the difference in pizza dough? I know it’s softer than regular bread dough, but how do you make it softer? Is it made with milk or water? Is there more milk or water in pizza dough than regular bread dough? Do you know the secret? Can you tell I’m not much of a baker? Help me out here. 😀
So, here we go. The step-by-step photo tutorial. With gaps.
This is simple from beginning to end. Even gathering the ingredients is quick; just five items for the basic recipe. I don’t do much measuring, so it really impressed me that he remembered the measurements off the top of his head for the flour, salt, yeast, and water. He added olive oil and rosemary this time and it was fantastic.
What kind of sorcery is this?! Homemade bread that is not kneaded and does not require the yeast be dissolved in hot water? Yep. This is the part I think is so tricksy. You just combine all of the dry ingredients in a medium bowl, then pour the hot water in and stir it up. You’ll reach a point when you have to mix it in by hand, but be careful to just incorporate all of the flour without kneading or over mixing. How easy is that?
Here is where one of those photo gaps appears. Or doesn’t appear, considering the nature of gaps. Anyway, I forgot to have Anthony take a picture of the risen dough or the punching down, or even shaping and forming these lovely loaves. After the dough has risen a couple hours, or doubled in size, punch it down and form it into 4 individual boules and let them rise again on a bread board or cookie sheet covered in cornmeal or flour, as you can see in the picture above. Let them rise again for 45 minutes. While they rise, heat the oven and baking stone, and get a pan of water steaming.
This is how they look when finished. Aren’t they beautiful? Before putting them in the oven, score them three times across their tops, then place them on the heated baking stone and pop it back in the oven for about 20 minutes.
Oh, is one missing? Huh. I hadn’t noticed.
- 6 ½ cups flour
- 1½ TB yeast
- 1 TB + 1 tsp coarse salt
- 3 cups warm water, hot tap water is fine
- cornmeal for dusting
- Olive oil (optional)
- Fresh rosemary, coarsely chopped (optional)
- In large mixing bowl, combine the flour, yeast, and salt (and rosemary if using)
- Add warm water to flour mixture (and about 1/4 cup of olive oil if using,) mix until all is evenly moistened. You’ll have to get your hands dirty.
- Cover bowl with a clean towel. Let rise in warm place until doubled in size, about 2 hours. Punch down.
- Separate into four even sections. They’ll be about the size of grapefruits. Cover hands with flour to shape into smooth balls, or boules. Place boules on a cornmeal covered board for 45 minutes.
- While the boules rise, cover baking stone with cornmeal and place in cold oven. Turn oven on to 450 degrees F. About 5 minutes before putting bread in oven, place an oven proof container of water under the baking stone. The water should be steaming before putting bread in oven.
- Dust each loaf with flour, make three cuts across the top of each. Transfer boules to hot baking stone and bake 20 minutes. Bread is done when it’s a nice golden brown.
Yields 4 small round loaves