Tuesday, April 5, 2011

artisan bread with garlic, herbs de provence, and parmesan

so, i started baking artisan bread awhile back, thanks to a tip from my lovely friend rachel. i LOVE this recipe. it is seriously so easy, and rewarding. the dough is stored in the fridge and you can break off dough to bake fresh for dinner. i've also baked the bread ahead of time, in the form of baguettes (two per cookie sheet), and i leave them a little underdone and freeze them. then i pull out a baguette and preheat the oven to 350. also, the pizza dough is amazing. i started experimenting with other things to add to the bread and came up with this herbed bread. i'm currently a bit obsessed with it.

artisan bread with garlic, herbs de provence, and parmesan:
start with the master boule recipe. you can use all unbleached flour, or add in some
whole wheat. i added 2 1/2- 3 cups whole wheat flour, in place of some of the white flour.

peel 8-10 cloves of garlic, slice thin and saute in olive oil until soft and fragrant.
3 tablespoons herbs de provence, plus more for top of loaf
3/4 cup parmesan, asiago, or romano chees, plus more for the top of loaf

after the dough rises, add the garlic with the oil it cooked in, the cheese, herbs and a bit
more salt and pepper. mix well and refrigerate. i shaped this into a bit longer loaf, not quite
round, let it rise and then sprinkled the top with more herbs and cheese. press the herbs and
cheese into the dough a bit. score with a sharp knife and dust with flour.
bake as directed in the master recipe.
The Master Recipe: Boule(Artisan Free-Form Loaf) Makes 4 1-pound loaves
3 cups lukewarm water
1 1⁄2 tbsp granulated yeast (1 1⁄2 packets)
1 1⁄2 tbsp coarse kosher or sea salt
6 1⁄2 cups unsifted, unbleached, all-purpose white flour
Cornmeal for pizza peel

The Master RecipeThe artisan free-form loaf called the French boule is the basic model for all the no-knead recipes. The round shape (boule in French means “ball”) is the easiest to master. You’ll learn how wet the dough needs to be (wet, but not so wet that the finished loaf won’t retain its form) and how to shape a loaf without kneading. And you’ll discover a truly revolutionary approach to baking: Take some dough from the fridge, shape it, leave it to rest, then let it bake while you’re preparing the rest of the meal.

Keep your dough wet — wetter doughs favor the development of sourdough character during storage. You should become familiar with the following recipe before going through any of the others.

Mixing and Storing the Dough
1. Heat the water to just a little warmer than body temperature (about 100 degrees Fahrenheit).
2. Add yeast and salt to the water in a 5-quart bowl or, preferably, in a resealable, lidded container (not airtight — use container with gasket or lift a corner). Don’t worry about getting it all to dissolve.
3. Mix in the flour by gently scooping it up, then leveling the top of the measuring cup with a knife; don’t pat down. Mix with a wooden spoon, a high-capacity food processor with dough attachment, or a heavy-duty stand mixer with dough hook, until uniformly moist. If hand-mixing becomes too difficult, use very wet hands to press it together. Don’t knead! This step is done in a matter of minutes, and yields a wet dough loose enough to conform to the container.
4. Cover loosely. Do not use screw-topped jars, which could explode from trapped gases. Allow the mixture to rise at room temperature until it begins to collapse (or at least flatten on top), approximately two hours, depending on temperature. Longer rising times, up to about five hours, will not harm the result. You can use a portion of the dough any time after this period. Refrigerated wet dough is less sticky and easier to work with than room-temperature dough. We recommend refrigerating the dough at least three hours before shaping a loaf. And relax! You don’t need to monitor doubling or tripling of volume as in traditional recipes.
5. Prepare a pizza peel by sprinkling it liberally with cornmeal to prevent the loaf from sticking to it when you slide it into the oven.
Sprinkle the surface of the dough with flour, then cut off a 1-pound (grapefruit-sized) piece with a serrated knife. Hold the mass of dough in your hands and add a little more flour as needed so it won’t stick to your hands. Gently stretch the surface of the dough around to the bottom on four “sides,” rotating the ball a quarter-turn as you go, until the bottom is a collection of four bunched ends. Most of the dusting flour will fall off; it doesn’t need to be incorporated. The bottom of the loaf will flatten out during resting and baking.
6. Place the ball on the pizza peel. Let it rest uncovered for about 40 minutes. Depending on the dough’s age, you may see little rise during this period; more rising will occur during baking.
7. Twenty minutes before baking, preheat oven to 450 degrees with a baking stone on the middle rack. Place an empty broiler tray for holding water on another shelf.
8. Dust the top of the loaf liberally with flour, which will allow the slashing, serrated knife to pass without sticking. Slash a 1⁄4-inch-deep cross, scallop or tick-tack-toe pattern into the top. (This helps the bread expand during baking.)
9. With a forward jerking motion of the wrist, slide the loaf off the pizza peel and onto the baking stone. Quickly but carefully pour about a cup of hot water into the broiler tray and close the oven door to trap the steam. Bake for about 30 minutes, or until the crust is browned and firm to the touch. With wet dough, there’s little risk of drying out the interior, despite the dark crust. When you remove the loaf from the oven, it will audibly crackle, or “sing,” when initially exposed to room temperature air. Allow to cool completely, preferably on a wire rack, for best flavor, texture and slicing. The perfect crust may initially soften, but will firm up again when cooled.
10. Refrigerate the remaining dough in your lidded (not airtight) container and use it over the next two weeks: You’ll find that even one day’s storage improves the flavor and texture of your bread. This maturation continues over the two-week period. Cut off and shape loaves as you need them. The dough can also be frozen in 1-pound portions in an airtight container and defrosted overnight in the refrigerator prior to baking day.

Neapolitan Pizza Dough
The secrets to this pizza are to keep the crust thin, don’t overload it, and to bake it quickly at a high temperature so it doesn’t cook down to a soup. It’s unlike anything most of us are used to eating — especially if you make fresh mozzarella!
1 pound pre- mixed boule dough
Cornmeal for covering the pizza peel
Topping: your favorite seasonal ingredients
  1. 20 minutes before baking, preheat the oven with a baking stone (scraped clean) at your oven’s maximum temperature — the hotter, the better. (Another option is to use the baking stone over a grill, which takes about two-thirds of the time.)
  2. Prepare the toppings in advance. The key to a pizza that slides right off the peel is to work quickly.
  3. Follow Step 5 of The Master Recipe (above).
  4. Flatten the dough into a 1/8-inch-thick round with your hands and a rolling pin on a wooden board. Dust with flour to keep the dough from sticking. (A little sticking can help overcome the dough’s re sis tance to stretching, though, so don’t overuse flour.) You also can let the partially rolled dough relax for a few minutes to allow further rolling. Stretching by hand may help, followed by additional rolling. Place the rolled- out dough onto a liberally ­cornmeal- covered pizza peel.
  5. Distribute your toppings over the surface, leaving some of its surface exposed so you can appreciate the individual ingredients — and the magnificent crust! — of the final product. No further resting is needed.
  6. Turn on the exhaust fan (or use lower heat and bake a few minutes longer), because some of the cornmeal will smoke. Slide the pizza onto the stone ( back- and- forth shakes can help dislodge it). Check for doneness in 8 to 10 minutes. Turn the pizza around if one side is browning too fast. It may need up to 5 more minutes.
  7. Allow to cool slightly on a rack before serving.

Makes 1 12- to 14-inch pizza to serve 2 to 4.

find the whole article here http://www.motherearthnews.com/Real-Food/Artisan-Bread-In-Five-Minutes-A-Day.aspx


  1. I have never baked bread but because of a soy and milk intolerance my 2 year old has i am finding making everything from scratch is pretty much the way to go. So i am very lost as to what it means in step 5 when it says to gently stretch the surface of the dough around to the bottom on four “sides,” rotating the ball a quarter-turn as you go, until the bottom is a collection of four bunched ends...the bottom four sides of what exactly?

  2. don't take the "sides" too literally. you will be breaking off about a grapefruit sized ball of dough from the mass of dough. basically you are just folding the dough under as you turn it, to form a round shape. the folds underneath will flatten out a bit as they bake and be on the bottom of the bread, so it's no big deal if they are uneven.
    does that help? the best way to learn how to make artisan bread is to just start doing it... my first few loaves were an experiment, but now i do it without even thinking.
    you can do it!
    let me know how it turns out for you!
    alison rae