Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Farmers Bread

This bread is really, really good.


If you're a homemade bread kind of person- you have to make this bread!

I've made a lot of homemade bread and this recipe is definitely at the top of my list. The crumb... oh my goodness, the crumb in this bread is SO delicious! It is so tender and fluffy and soft- Mmmmmmm : ) I love a nice fresh slice of bread. It does require a bit of time since you have to make the starter the night before. I swear it's not hard though. It's a bunch of easy steps over about a day, no different from a lot of other bread recipes. And the shape of the loaf is totally optional. The original recipe has you form it in a parker house roll type shape, but my loaves ended up looking more like mittens haha so if you want to make the loaves as the original recipe dictates be sure to use egg white to brush a seal, not olive oil or water. Also, you can use active dry yeast, just be sure to dissolve it in the warm water first, letting it actuate. Just a heads up too- this dough is very, very sticky. I thought it was going to come out terribly because when I was kneading it, it was just soooo sticky that I had to keep adding flour. Well eventually I said, "enough is enough! any more flour and this dough is going to be tough, I don't care how sticky it is." Some doughs are meant to be sticky, ya know? And my continually adding flour was going to ruin it. So I ended up adding up to maybe an extra 1/4 cup then switched my kneading technique and I think it is going to be my new favorite way for kneading dough. Here is the link if you're interested- it really is ingenious, I highly recommend it. It was almost like the dough was just slapping off the surface and bouncing back up. Kind of like those sticky gel things you can get in the 25 cent machines and then throw against the wall haha well, at least you do when your 9...

Seriously though... look at that crumb!

It even makes great grilled garlic bread! Just slice and brush with olive oil. 
Toast it on the grill and then rub it with a fresh clove of garlic and sprinkle on some salt. 

Haha I totally just pulled off the "mitt" part of the loaf, slathered it with butter and devoured it...

Farmers Bread
adapted from cookingbread.com

Night Before:
1 cup stone ground whole wheat flour
1 cup bread flour
1/4 tsp instant yeast
3/4 cup warm water

Day of:
2 3/4 cups bread flour
1 1/4 cups lukewarm water
1/2 tsp instant yeast
1 tsp salt
1 Tb barley malt or molasses

1. The night before you want to make this bread add all the "night before" ingredients together and mix until smooth. Cover with plastic wrap and leave on the counter overnight for 12-16 hours.

2.The next morning place the mixture into a large bowl. Add water (110 degrees F) to the night before mixture and mix with a wooden spoon. Add instant yeast, salt and malt or molasses. Add in a cup of bread flour and mix 'till smooth. Continue to add more flour untill it becomes too hard to mix in the bowl. Pour the dough out onto a floured surface and continue to add in the rest of the flour. Knead for 8 to 10 minutes and then place into a clean bowl with a little oil. Turn the dough to lightly coat with oil. Cover with plastic wrap and allow to rise 1 1/2 to 2 hours or until double in bulk.

3. Pour out onto a flat surface. Cut dough in half and shape each piece into a tear drop. Cover with plastic wrap and allow to rest for 20 minutes.

I recommend flattening more dough then I did- about half the round.
That way you'll be able to stretch it almost completely across the top of the loaf. 
4. Afterwards use a rolling pin to roll out one side of the dough to about the length and diameter of the dough. Brush edges of the rolled out part of the dough with oil or egg white.

5. Pull the rolled out part over the round part of the dough. Do the same with the other piece. Place them onto parchment. Cover with pastic wrap and allow to rise 1 hour.

6. Dust the tops with a little stone ground flour. Place into a preheated 400 degree F oven with a hot baking stone or on a cookie sheet (do not preheat cookie sheet). Create some steam by clecing a cast iron pan on the bottom of the oven and pouring about a cup of boiling water into the hot pan and close the door. Bake for 30 to 35 minutes or until when tapped on the bottom of the loaf and it sounds hollow. Allow to cool on a wire rack.

See this link for more detailed photos of the procedure

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