I must admit I have never been a big fan of making homemade bread. It has always seemed so lengthy and labor intensive. However the more recipes I try from Baking with Julia, the more I seem to enjoy the process of doing everything from start to finish. Making bread is so easy and the result is so much better when you do it all yourself. The outside of this bread was beautifully crispy and buttery and the inside was soft and chewy. A perfect bread for morning toast. I loved this weeks hosts Keep it Luce idea of incorporating Rosemary. I will have to try that next time.
Not a complicated recipe, but as many of the other Tuesdays with Dorie participants noted the rising process took forever. The two hour rise time was pretty right on though for each rise. I had thought I might let the bread rise outside in the shade, but was concerned that the heat might be too much. In the end the kitchen counter worked just perfect. Often times when I read through the recipes there are a few things that I just can’t figure out and the scoring was the problem with this one. I was so confused on what Julia meant by score from top to bottom at a 30 degree angle. I interpreted the best I could, but still am not sure if I got it right. Here is the recipe if you so wish to try:
From Baking with Julia, written by Dorie Greenspan.
1 cup warm water
1 tsp active dry yeast
1 cup unbleached all-purpose flour
Pour the warm water and yeast into a medium bowl. Whisk to combine. When the yeast has dissolved and is creamy, about 5 minutes, stir in the flour.
Cover the bowl and let it rest at room temperature until the sponge doubles in volume, about 2 hours.
the sponge (above)
1/2 to 3/4 cup unbleached all-purpose flour
3/4 cup semolina flour
2 tsp salt
1 tbs olive oil
To make the dough in a food processor:
Scrape the sponge into a food processor fitted with a metal blade. Add 1/2 cup of the all-purpose flour and the rest of the ingredients and pulse on and off until the dough forms a ball on the blade. If the dough doesn’t form a ball, add another 1/4 cup of all-purpose flour a tablespoon at a time, pulsing to mix it in. Let the dough rest in the bowl for 5 minutes, then process for a full 20 seconds. The dough will be sticky.
To make the dough in a mixer:
Scrape the sponge into the bowl of a mixer fitted with the dough hook. Add 1/2 cup of the all-purpose flour and the rest of the ingredients (be sure to chop the rosemary very finely because you won’t have the blade of the food processor to help you chop it further). Mix on medium speed until you have a dough that is smooth and elastic, but somewhat sticky, about 5 minutes. If the dough is too soft, add up to 1/4 cup more of the all-purpose flour 1 tablespoon at a time.
Turn the dough into an oiled bowl, cover the bowl with plastic wrap and let the dough rise at room temperature until it doubles in volume, about 2 hours.
Shaping and second rise
Turn the dough onto a floured surface and deflate it by flattening it with your palms. Pat the dough into a rough oval shape and then roll it, from one long side to the other, to form a plump loaf. Tuck the ends under and transfer the loaf to a parchment paper lined baking sheet. Cover it lightly with oiled plastic wrap and allow it to rest until it doubles in volume again, about 2 hours.
Baking the bread
Holding a single edged razor or sharp serrated knife at a 30-degree angle to the loaf, slash lines up and over the width of the loaf. The lines should be at an angle and about an inch away from each other.
Bake for about 35 minutes, until deeply golden or an instant read thermometer inserted into the bottom of the loaf reads 210 degrees. Transfer the bread toa rack and cool completely.
The bread can be kept at room temperature for a day; cover it loosely with plastic wrap. For longer storage, wrap it airtight and freeze for up to one month. Thaw, still wrapped, at room temperature.