Friday, 28 December 2007
Make this! It's amazing!
This recipe was first given to me on a message board that I no longer frequent, by a poster with the nick of B_Cereus, but it's been around. Apparently it originally came from a New York bakery, and spread via the New York Times out on to the internet to mutate and evolve. It worked for me first time and every time since, but in case you have problems, have a look at Clotilde at C&Z. She tried it out with problematic success, but persevered until she got it right. Or you could check Jaden's blog - with photos at each stage.
My version of the recipe seems to have slightly morphed from the original, but it works! The bread is excellent - it has a golden crust and a chewy open crumb, reminiscent of good Italian bread.
3 cups bread flour
400mls lukewarm water
1 sachet dry yeast (7g)
1 scant teaspoon salt
1 scant teaspoon sugar
about 1/4 cup extra flour, to coat
Mix all into a loose dough in a bowl. Cover with gladwrap and leave to rise for 18-24 hours. Turn out onto a well-floured surface that you can pick up later - I use a silicone baking mat - and fold over in three to make a rough loaf shape. It will be very soft and loose. Turn seam side down. Sprinkle flour over surface, cover with gladwrap, and let rise for another 2-3 hours. The dough should double in size, or a bit more, and will not bounce back easily if you poke it.
Place a large covered casserole dish in the oven, and pre-heat to 220C. When dough is ready, carefully remove pot from oven. (It's hot!) Sprinkle some more flour into the pot. Pick up the dough by holding under the mat and flop it over into the casserole dish, so it lands seam side up. Shake pan once or twice to distribute dough more evenly, if necessary.
Cover pot with lid and bake for 30 minutes. Then remove lid and bake for another 15 minutes, or until loaf is nicely browned.
Notes: I use an enamelled cast iron casserole dish, but the recipe I got it from said ceramic or pyrex is OK too. Also there was a suggestion to replace a cup of the white flour with wholemeal and add stuff if you want, but I've never tried this. And you can use some cornmeal instead of the flour for the coating stage.