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Friday, March 5, 2010

Homemade bread



Homemade bread

Ingredients:

1 kg (6 1/2 cups) white flour (I recommend high gluten flour)

800 ml (3 1/2 cups) warm water

1 tablespoon salt

1 tablespoon sugar

1 tablespoon dry yeast


This dose makes three breads around 600 gr (1.5 lb) each.

Preparation:

     Dissolve the yeast and the sugar in the warm water and let it rise (for about 10 minutes). In a deep bowl (large enough to hold about 6 qt) with lid, put the flour, add salt and the raised yeast. With a large spoon (I use a wooden one) stir until the liquid absorbs all the flour. And voila! Close the bowl and let the dough rise in a warm place. Wait for it to triple its volume (the bowl will be filled), and stir again. Now it will begin to rise very quickly. After the second time, you can now start shaping loaves. But  if you have more time, I recommend that you to mix it and let it rise for at least a couple more times. The more times you do this, the nicer and fluffier your bread will be. If the room you're working in is warm, the whole process shouldn't take more than 2-3 hours.
     After the last rise, put the dough on a very well floured surface, sprinkle it with some flour and divide it into three parts using a sharp knife. Gently shape three loaves and place them in a large shallow baking dish, over baking paper sprinkled with flour. Cover them with a clean kitchen towel and allow them to rise again for about 20-30 min. Preheat oven to 350 F. If you wish, you can make 3 slits with a very sharp knife on top and put them in the oven.
Do not over bake them, because the crust will become very thick. Bake them until they are light golden color. When baked, tapping on the bottom should make a "hollow sound". Remove them from the oven and place them on a cooling rack, sprinkle lightly with cold water, cover them again with a clean kitchen towel and let them cool before cutting into slices.

Note:

     If you have a baking stone - even better! Baked that way, the bread has even more authentic flavor. But if you don't - that's OK too!

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