I decided to make two different types of bread today: One with rosemary leaves and green olive and the other just plain. I so far have not tried plain bread and I would really like it to work out.
It started with the same dough, which later was divided into two loafs.
*1 dessert spoon = 0.8 table spoon
1. Activating the dry yeast: add 1 dessert spoon of white sugar to 1 cup of warm water – mix well with a spoon. Add 1 dessert spoon of yeast, cover with a kitchen towel and wait for 10 min. It should happily bubble and smells gorgeous 🙂
I found that the yeast behave the best if I do not mix them after adding to the water+sugar mix. Any ideas why?
2. Add 2 cups of all purpose flour, 2 cups of whole wheat flour, 1.5 dessert spoon of salt, and 1 cup of water to the yeast mixture and mix well with the help of a spoon. Through the end I had to use my hand as it was a little bit sticky and I wanted it to get the flour in. After that, cover it with a towel and let rest for 20 min to autolyse.
I covered the container with a thick blanket this week – I am trying to see whether it will be enough to rise the dough. If so, I will stop using a warmed oven to rise my dough. Just trying to be self-sustained 🙂
3. Sprinkle a clean surface with flour and knead the dough for 5 minutes. As you go, you will see it will get smoother and also stickier. Add flour as required, but make sure that it does not get too hard. From now on, the first rise will start.
4. Sprinkle flour on a container and put the dough in (I use the same bowl I used to form the dough). Sprinkle some flour on top as well. Cover and keep warm for two hours.
During this time, I used the blanket again to keep the dough warm. This being said, at one point I thought I could put the dough-container still wrapped with the blanket on stove as I was cooking and it was warmer there (to help rise). Long story short, I ended up having a chunk of blanket melted and stuck on the stove!! It is good that I noticed 🙂 This was the misadventure # 1 for today 🙂
During this step, every 30 min (three times total) I took the dough out and applied the stretch and fold technique. Basically, I assumed the dough had 4 corners. I grabbed a corner of the dough and stretched as far as I could (gently) and then stuck it in back to the dough. I then repeated this with 3 other corners of the dough.
I have the pictures of the dough before each stretch and fold application:
5. Take the dough on a clean surface sprinkled with flour. The dough was sticky so I added a small amount of flour, lightly mixed it in, and then cut the dough into two.
a) I shaped the plain dough in a francala shape and placed on wax paper and supported on both sides by two long boxes. I then placed the entire stuff in a large nylon bag, loosely tied up the bag, and placed it in an oven warmed to 103 F with lights on.
b) I added the olive and rosemary into the dough. I thought they would mix well but no; they did not – misadventure #2. So I rather placed everything inside the dough and formed a round loaf. I placed this loaf in a bowl upside down that was covered by cling wrap sprinkled with flour. In the absence of shaping baskets, I thought that would work 🙂 I covered it with a towel and placed in the warm oven.
Rise the dough for 1 hour in the warm oven.
6. Take the loafs out and re-shape them gently again.
a) The francala had stuck on the wax paper – misadventure #3, so I literally had to drag it onto a cornmeal coated oven dish. Poor thing….
b) the olive and rosemary loaf looked good 🙂 I put it on a cornmeal-coated oven dish (upside down).
7) Score the surfaces as you like. I then brushed them with vegetable oil – for the round loaf I also applied it to the sides as it looked like the dough would expand and stick. For a lazy and careless baker, I am proud of myself for coming up with this idea 🙂 I sprinkled the francala with a few sesame and nigella seeds.
8. Heat the oven to 375 F and place some hot water in another contained (to provide steam during the baking – I hope it did work). Place the loafs in and bake for 1 hour. During this period, I sprinkled a generous amount of water on top of both loafs three times.
9. Turn of the oven and apply butter stick on both loafs – it melts as it touches them. Then I left the loafs for an additional 5 min in the oven.
Bon appetite! 🙂