Experiments with Artisan Bread

I absolutely love the free form rustic looking artisan breads. The crusty exterior and soft, chey inside is to die for. A thick slice of freshly baked bread a chunky hot soup is a  match made in heaven. I have made several attempts but mostly ended up with rather disappointing results. But my slightly positive results this time have put me on the “willing to bake this till I nail it” track.

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The secret is to bake it for the first couple of minutes in a covered pan which creates steam. Most recipes use dutch ovens or baking stones. I was also left disappointed because I don’t have either. But this website suggested not fretting over things like these and just make do with whatever you have. Thus I dived in by using a square cake tin covered with a rectangular tray. I pretty much followed the recipe on the website.

Ingredients:

  • 3 cups maida. (I don’t know the exact measurement that a cup holds in baking. When I say cup, I usually mean a small cup I have that holds 100 mls water)
  • 1 tsp active dry yeast
  • 1/2 cup warm water
  • salt to taste
  • water as needed to bake a loose gooey dough

I first added the yeast to warm water and left it to froth while I measured the flour. Once the yeast mixture was frothy I added it to the flour and salt mixture. I added water as needed to make a pasty mixture.

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I then left this alone to rise and only turned to it after a good 7-8 hours. By this time the dough had more than doubled. I then just poured it out on a heavily floured surface and shaped it into a ball. I didn’t knead it. Just worked it enough to gift it some sort of shape.

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I then covered it with cling. I then turned my oven on for preheating at 250 degrees C for 30 minutes with the square tin inside the oven. After 30 minutes, I gently placed this dough in the square tin and covered it with the tray. I turned the heat down to 230 degrees. I then left the bread alone for 30 minutes. After 30 minutes, I removed the tray covering the tin and further baked it for 15 minutes. This gave me a nice rustic looking loaf.

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I left this on the wire rack for 30 minutes. After 30 minutes I cut thick slices. It was delicious. Crusty on the outside and chewy within.

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