Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Home made, country style bread




This is a must to start with.. You know why..
Well, mostly because it is just gorgeous, second because it is the most sought after recipe among the local Hungarian community.
Though the fame of the bread and the recipes goes under my name, I have to roll the ball to the one who really deserves it, New York baker Jim Lahey, the father of this gorgeous recipe.

To all my bread enthusiasts who asked for it, I found the very original bread recipe, with exact measurements. So, there is nothing left but to enjoy.

I started baking this bread in July, shortly after our arrival to Dan Diego, for the very simple reason that I didn't find any bread that we really liked.
I have since experimented with flours..
I would recommend bleached bread (all purpose) flour to get the best whiteness and rise, or if you are against it like me, buy the unbleached pastry flour for best Hungarian type “white bread” results. With these two flours the bread will be white, with sponge like crust, and big holes thanks to fermentation.

Other flours work well, too, with a bit of change in texture: the crumb is more heavy, but the taste might be preferred even by some, as it has “more flavor”. We like the version with one unbleached flour combined even with 1/3rd whole wheat flour, but I advice you to experiment..

If you use 1/3 rd whole wheat or rye flour, keep the lid ON a bit longer, as the bread will rise slower.
Anyway, a good rule of thumb: the lower the protein the lighter the bread crumb.
If you like the fresh crust, my ABSOLUTE favorite, and its difficult to measure precisely the 350 ml of water, the advice would be that you use more water than less, the bread might not rise as high but the crumb is more “spongeous” and keeps its freshness longer..

If you haven't visited Jim's web site, here you have the recipe:

No-kneed bread ingredients
700 ml flour
1 teaspoon salt (without iodine)
1/4 teaspoon yeast
350 ml water

Mix the dry ingredients, add the water until the dough absorbs all the flour, but do not work on it too much, the dough is (and should be) very sticky!
Let it stay overnight, at least 12 hours, or better 16-18 hours covered with a cloth.
Then dump it to a floured surface, fold it couple of times like you fold an envelope, and let it rise for two hours, under a cloth.
At the end of the two hours, heat the oven to 225-230 C (435-440 F) with a pot & lid in it.
When the oven & pot are both very hot gently place the dough in the pot, cover it with the lid, and let it bake for 30 minutes.
Remove the lid, and let it bake for additional 20-25 minutes, until the crust is golden brown.
Wrap the bread in two table cloths, and let it cool for at least one hour.
Enjoy!