I think that I was born to be a bread maker. I love absolutely everything about bread making. I love the chemistry that takes place between the ingredients. I love the feel of the soft dough as I knead it with my hands. I love the pillowy rise that it gets while it rises on the countertop. I love the smell of baking bread lofting through the house. I love the feel of a warm loaf of bread just out of the oven. I love the sound of a serrated knife slicing through the buttery crust of a freshly baked loaf of bread. I love eating that first slice of a loaf of bread - without butter - just pure and simple. Have I mentioned just how much I love bread?
This recipe came from a great Thomas Keller cookbook. It is a fabulous cookbook with awesome pictures.
Oh and one more thing that I love about bread - I love taking pictures of beautiful loaves of bread as well. (As you're about to see.)
1 cup + 1 3/4 teaspoons flour
1/32 teaspoon instant yeast
1/2 cup + 1 Tablespoon + 2 1/2 teaspoons water (75 degrees)
3 cups + 2 Tablespoons flour
1/4 teaspoon instant yeast
1 cup + 3 1/2 Tablespoons water (75 degrees)
2 teaspoons fine sea salt
Stretch and fold the dough from the right side to the opposite side.
Repeat the process working from the bottom and then the top.
Lift the dough from the surface and place seam side down in a greased bowl.
Gently return it to the bowl, cover and let sit 1 hour longer.
Gently fold the edges of each piece of dough in the center to form a ball. Turn seam side down on the board. Let rest for 15 minutes.
With your hands one of top and the other on the center of the dough, rock the dough back and forth applying gentle pressure while slowly moving moving your hands apart, until you reach the ends. As you roll the dough, it will increase in length and the structure will tighten. The finished diameter of the center of the batard should be 2 3/4 inches.
Cover the dough with a plastic tub and let proof for 1 hour. Preheat oven to 460 degrees.
Let cool completely on a cooling rack.
I realize the the length of this blog alone is intimidating to most people. I promise you that it really isn't that hard. I simply wanted to add enough pictures to give you a visual reference to follow when you make bread at home. If you have never tried to make your own bread, you really need to give it a try. It is incredibly rewarding.
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