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You will need a large cast-iron pot or dutch oven with a lid for this recipe. You will also need 12 - 24 hours to complete the cycle, BUT - the timing is more flexible, since the yeast is rising very slowly. You can start this before going to work and finish it when you get home. Or start it before you go to bed and finish it for brunch the next morning. The lower amount of yeast will yield a slower rising bread, 15 - 18 hours for first rise. The higher amount of yeast will yield a faster-rising bread, 9 - 12 hours for first rise.
Recipe for a Large Loaf
Pour a very thin line of olive oil around the entire edge of the dough.
Turn the oven on and set to 450 F.
VariationsYou CAN do this faster; in three hours, as a matter of fact. Does not taste quite as good, but, still yummy. Follow the original procedure, but make sure to rise the dough in a warm place. This warmth plus the extra yeast will speed the first rise to 45-60 minutes and the second rise to 30-45 minutes. Use the following combination of ingredients:
In the traditional bread-making recipes yeast growth is precipitated by adding a large amount of yeast to a dough with some sugar in it. The waste product from yeast growth, carbon dioxide, is removed from the dough by stirring down and then kneading down after the bread dough doubles in size. This has to be done ON SCHEDULE or the dough exhausts itself.
For THIS bread, the method is: start with a very small amount of yeast, no sugar, and let the yeast slowly multiply. The slow proofing (rising) of the dough allows the bread to develop without kneading. The bread is cooked in a hot oven in a hot cast iron pot with a lid on it, which cooks the bread with a combination of heat and steam. The resulting loaf has a good crust and a tender but firm crumb that holds up to slicing.
SubstitutionsThe general proportions of ingredients:
Temperature for rising: I have made bread in a kitchen that was as low as 60 degrees F with the bread in a covered bowl on the counter.
I have substituted 1/2 of the flour with high-gluten whole wheat flour with success. Whole wheat flour may require a bit more water.
I have (in a cold kitchen) allowed the first rise to go for 20 hours and the second for four.
I have substituted 1/3 of the flour with rye flour.
I have used this recipe with the water scaled down to 1.5 c and up to 3 c.
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Author: Maura Enright
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