Sunday, March 12, 2006

Bread Recipe:

Proofing Yeast:
mix 1 cup warm water and tablespoon of honey or maple syrup. sprinkle on heaping teaspoon of yeast on top. let sit for 10 minutes (i.e. whenever yeast has dissolved).

Mixing Dough:
add another cup or two or three of water. add a dash of salt. add a dash of olive oil. add a cup of flour. mix well. add 1/2 cup more flour. mix well. add more flour. mix well. keep adding flour 1/4 to 1/2 cup at a time and mixing well after adding each addition. keep doing this until you can't effectively mix the dough with a wooden spoon. start kneading the dough at this point. i like to do this in a metal bowl--less messy. push down and away from you on the dough with the ball of your hand. grab the far side of the dough (what you just pushed away) and fold it over on top of the rest of the dough. turn the bowl 1/2 turn and repeat until your arm starts getting sore. you may need to add a little flour or water during this first kneading process as the dough begins to become more homogenous. in the end, you should have a sore forearm and dough that looks and feels the way dough should.

let the dough rise for three hours or so and punch it down and need again. keep doing this until you get sick of it. more is better, but one rising will be sufficient. if you want pizza dough, it would be a good idea to put the dough in the fridge instead of letting it rise to mess up the bread--but you don't have to.

i bake bread on a flat sheet or a cast iron pan. use bread pans if you want and fill them 1/3 to 1/2 full. if you bake the bread on a flat pan, don't make the bread too big--it will be hard to bake right. spread cornmeal on the pan and place the bread on the cornmeal to keep the bread from sticking

score the top of the bread with a sharp knife so the bread can rise after the top forms a crust. spray or sprinkle water on top of the dough so that it will steam and form a nice crust. bake at 425F for 10-12 minutes. you can periodically spray the bread with water during this time. turn the oven down to 350F and continue baking for 15 to 25 minutes, depending on the size of the loaf and your oven. when the bread is done, take it out and let cool for at least 40 minutes--do not cut the bread until after this 40 minutes has passed.

i like to use half unbleached white flour and half whole wheat flour. use whatever you feel like using. I didn't specify an amount of flour to use because this will vary depending on the kind and brand of flour you have, the temperature, and the relative humidity, and possibly the phase of the moon and how Two NDinjas did in their last race.


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