Bread is happenin' on this blog, you guys. I'm really getting into it for many reasons, one reason being that homemade bread is super easy, ridiculously tasty, and relatively cheap. Flour, water, salt, yeast, and some patience is all you need for a delicious loaf of bread.
This is another recipe from Ken Forkish's book, Flour Water Salt Yeast, the first one being the 80% Biga Bread. If you can make that bread, you can make this bread. If you don't this you can make bread, you can still make this bread. Trust me on this, it really is quite simple. There's gonna be some details in how exactly you fold the dough, but once you've got it, it'll take maybe 20 minutes of actual work (plus 16 or so hours of waiting).
If you haven't taken a peek at my 80% Biga Bread, please do. You'll learn how to fold and shape the dough as well as equipment you may need (and substitutions).
An example schedule for this bread would be:
7 p.m. - Mix the dough
8 a.m. - Shape the loaves
9:15 am - Bake the loaves
If you're not a morning person, simply change the hours around. Mix at 9p.m., shape at 10 a.m., bake at 11:15 a.m. Whatever floats your boat.
This bread makes excellent toast. Nice thick pieces toasted with some olive oil brushed on top or butter scraped over, plus a sprinkle of salt. Nothing beats it.
I'll be making some whole wheat breads soon, plus I'm currently starting my own starter/levain! Once that is nice and established, I'll make some levain breads, too. As I said, bread is happenin' in this kitchen, guys. Get the butter. Get the jam. Get the cheese. Be prepared.
Overnight White Bread
Recipe from Flour Water Salt Yeast
1,000 g all-purpose flour
780 g water, 90 to 95 F/ 32 to 35 C
22 g fine sea salt
0.8 g instant dried yeast
Combine the 1,000 g of flour with 780 g of water in a 12 quart (or equivalent) tub. Mix by hand until just incorporated. Cover and let rest for 20 to 30 minutes.
Sprinkle the 22 g of salt and the 0.8 g of yeast evenly over the top of the dough. Mix by hand, wetting your working hand before mixing so the dough doesn't stick to you. Reach underneath the dough and grab about one-quarter of the dough and gently stretch and fold it over the top to the other side. Repeat three more time with the remaining dough, until the salt and yeast are fully enclosed.
Use the pincer method (described in the 80% Biga Bread) to fully integrate the ingredients. Fold the dough over itself a few times, then repeat, alternately cutting and folding until all the ingredients are fully integrated and the dough has some tension in it. Let the dough rest for a few minutes, then fold for another 30 seconds or until the dough tightens up. The target dough temperature at the end of the mix is 77 to 78 F/ 25 to 26 C. Cover the tub and let the dough rise for 12 to 14 hours.
The dough needs two or three folds, preferably within the first hour and a half after mixing. This is best for maximum gas retention and volume in the finished loaf.
In the morning, moderately flour a work surface about 2 feet wide. Flour your hands and sprinkle a bit of flour around the edges of the tub. Tip the tub slightly and gently work your floured hand beneath the dough to loosen it form the bottom of the tub. Gently ease the dough out onto the work surface without pulling or tearing it.
With floured hands, pick up the dough and ease it back down onto the work surface in a somewhat even shape. Dust the area in the middle where you'll cut the dough with a bit of flour. Cut the dough into 2 equal size pieces.
Dust two proofing baskets (or equivalent) with flour. Shape each piece of dough into a medium-tight ball (described in the 80% Biga Bread). Place each seam side down in its proofing basket. Lightly flour the tops of the loaves, set them side by side, and cover them with a kitchen towel.
Let them proof for about 1 1/4 hours, assuming your kitchen temperature is around 70 F/21 C. If your kitchen is warmer, the loaves will proof faster. Preheat the oven at this time, 475 F. Place your Dutch Oven on the middle rack with the lid on while the oven is preheating.
Use the finger dent test (in my basic bread dough recipe) to test if the loaves are proofed. If you only have one Dutch oven, put the second loaf in the fridge 20 minutes before you bake the first one.
Be very careful with the extremely hot dutch oven in this next step. Invert the proofed loaf onto a lightly floured countertop, keeping in mind that the top of the loaf will the side that was facing down while it was rising - the seam side. Remove the preheated Dutch oven from the oven, remove the lid, and carefully place the loaf in the Dutch oven seam side up. Cover and bake for 30 minutes, then remove the lid and continue to bake for a further 20 to 30 minutes, until at least medium dark brown around all the loaf. Check after 15 minutes of baking uncovered in case your oven runs hot.
Remove the Dutch oven and carefully tilt it to turn the loaf out. Place on a wire rack to let it cool, about 20 minutes. Put the Dutch oven back in the oven for 5 minutes to preheat it, then bake the second loaf in the same way.