The hubs is very much into bread making and since we started dating, I kinda got hooked too. Making your own bread sans bread machine is actually very simple and doesn’t require much kneading. I used to be very scared of the word “kneading” because I wasn’t sure what it was exactly. Now I’m more aware but still prefer recipes that don’t require the kneading aspect (heck, I’ll probably just use my Kitchen Aid stand mixer now). I also prefer bread made by hand because it yields a more artisan result.
Anyway, this is a recent recipe that the hubs found and we now both love. It’s probably our favourite bread recipe (for now). It does require some time, but the results are well worth the effort and time. And no kneading required. 🙂
(by Carrie Thurman, taken from here) (my comments are in red)
Makes two 1-3/4 pound ciabattas
For the starter:
- 1 tablespoon cracked wheat berries (or whole wheat flour) (I did not use this)
- 1 tablespoon cracked rye berries (or rye flour) (I did not use this)
- 3 cups/14 ounces/400 grams unbleached white all purpose flour
- 1 cup/8 ounces/240 grams tepid water
- ¼ teaspoon/1 gram active dry yeast dissolved in 1 cup warm water (set aside) (I used instant yeast, so no need to prove it)
For the dough:
- 1 teaspoon/4 grams active dry yeast
- 3 1/4 cups/15.5 ounces/430 unbleached white all purpose flour
- 1 tablespoon/.4 ounces/11 grams salt
To make the starter:
- Combine the grains and tepid water in a medium sized mixing bowl.
- Add 1 teaspoon of the yeasted water (discard the rest) (or the instant yeast)
- Mix it into a firm ball, kneading it just a bit.
- Cover the bowl and let it rest at room temperature for 12 to 24 hours
To make the dough:
- Cut the starter dough into 6 or 8 pieces and put them in a large mixing bowl. Pour 2 cups/450 grams warm water over it and let sit a few minutes to soften. Feel free to get your hands in there to break it up a bit more.
- Add the dough ingredients and, using a wooden spoon, beat the mixture together well. It will resemble a stiff pancake batter and appear quite rough, don’t worry about completely incorporating the starter dough. (This can also be accomplished in a stand mixer using the paddle attachment, but I think it comes together better with a wood spoon or paddle). Let the dough sit, covered lightly, in a warm spot.
- Come back to it every 20 minutes or so and pull the dough away from the sides of the bowl and into the center using a rubber spatula or dough scraper. Do this four times. After the last turn you will be able to see that the dough has become smoother and more uniform, now cover and let it finish rising for another hour and a half. Total rising time for this period should be 2 ½ to 3 hours.
- Scrape the dough out onto a well floured surface and fold together lightly. Divide into two equal loaves and either pull apart into a flat focaccia style or fold the two ends into the center, like folding a letter, to form rectangular mound.
- Place loaves on parchment paper lined sheet pan side by side for final rise, ½ hour to 45 minutes.
- Prep your oven by preheating to 450 degrees F/230 degree C. and putting a baking stone, or in my case, a cast iron griddle on the middle rack and a baking pan half full of water right on the very bottom. Mine is long enough for both loaves (if you have neither, just bake it right on the pans). (I baked mine on a pizza stone)
- When ready to bake, lightly flour the tips of your fingers and dock each loaf, deflating some of the bubbles; don’t worry, it’ll bounce back in the oven.
- Cut the parchment paper between the loaves to separate, and slide each loaf right onto to the stone or griddle. Bake until dark golden brown and internal temp reaches 200 degrees, approximately 25 minutes.