I've started baking again, and I think I'm really getting nice results. On top of it, they are reproducible! In that post, I'll walk you through my favorite recipe step-by-step.
I'm baking a 65% hydrated loaf using a no-knead technique, cooked in a cooking pot.
As the FWSY book said, a regular contains 4 ingredients: flour, water, salt and yeast.
My recipe contains:
- 500g T65 flour
- 325mL of lukewarm water (the hydration percentage is calculated based on the flour mass, so 500 * 0.65 = 325g)
- 9g of coarse sea salt (the french yeast syndicate has settled on 18g of salt per kg of flour, so who am I so say otherwise?)
- 8g of fresh baker's yeast
First, mix the flour, the salt, and half of the water in a bowl, and the fresh baker's yeast with the other half of the water. Wait for a good half-hour.
Once the yeast is active and is well mixed into the water, incorporate it into the bowl and mix.
Stretch and folds
As this is a no-knead recipe, we'll use the stretch and fold technique to stretch and reinforce the gluten strands, which will then make sure the dough is elastic and can expand and rise nicely at cooking time.
Note: the dough will stick to the fingers during the first 2 stretch-and-folds. It's ok. Try to refrain from adding too much flour.
First, flour the table a little, and get the dough out of the bowl (preferably using a scraper, to avoid tearing the dough while you get it out). Stretch it slowly and as much as possible. The first times, it's possible some holes will form. If so, try to patch them and don't overstretch.
Then, fold the dough 4 times on itself and shape the dough into a boule. Let it rest in a bowl, under a slightly damp towel for between a half-hour an an hour. In my experience, the more you wait, the more the yeast will activate and the more bubbles you'll get in the end.
After that waiting period, the dough should have expanded a bit, and feel more elastic, as well as less sticky.
Repeat these steps 4 to 5 times until the dough passes the finger dent test. The more you wait, the better.
Shape the dough into a boule, and let it proof for 2 hours under a slightly damp towel. Go watch Netflix or something. After the 2 hours, shape it into a boule again, to re-tighten the dough.
Pre-heating and scoring
Pre-heat your oven at 250°C (482°F) with the cooking pot (lid included) inside. Once the oven is hot enough, place the proofed dough on cooking paper, flour it, then score it.
Get the cooking pot from the oven, and place the loaf inside, still on the cooking paper. Let it cook lid closed for 30 minutes, to make sure the water contained in the bread evaporates in the pot, which will help the crust develop. Remove the lid and lower the oven temperature to 235°C (455°F). Get the bread out of the oven after 15 to 20 minutes, when you feel it's cooked enough and you like the color.
Place your hot loaf on a grille, and let it rest and cool down for a couple of hours. Enjoy the cracking sounds.
You know what to do.