Bread Without a Timetable
This is a recipe from Laurie Colwin’s book Home Cooking. I’ve taken the recipe from Smitten Kitchen, which conveniently includes pictures. Deb is a bread pro, and let’s be honest I need all the help I can get, visually… before embarking on bread related projects.
The beauty of this loaf is that it’s pretty unbreakable. There is a lot of flexibility built into the recipe, and I’m interested to take the challenge of stretching the limits of what will impact the final product.
Anyways, here goes!
- 1 1/2 cups white flour
- 1 1/2 cups wheat flour
- 3/4 cups coarse ground whole wheat flour (I used buckwheat flour, you can also just use wheat flour)
- Heaping teaspoon of salt
- Half teaspoon of sugar
- 1/2 scant teaspoon of active dry yeast. (if you are leaving it overnight use 1/4 teaspoon)
- 1 1/2 cups of liquid (half milk, half water, more or less of one or the other, whatever you like).
- 1. Into a large bread bowl, mix the white flour, wheat flour and coarse ground whole wheat flour , the salt, and the sugar.
- 2. In a separate bowl, mix the yeast with your liquid.
- 3. Pour the liquid into the flour and stir it up. The dough should be neither dry nor sticky, but should tend more toward to the stick than the dry. If too sticky, add a little more flour.
- 4. Knead the dough well, roll it in flour, put it in a warm bowl (although a cold bowl isn't the end of the world). Cover with plastic wrap leave it in a cool, draft-free place and go do something for a few hours, or longer (could be overnight).
- 5. Whenever you happen to get home, punch down the dough, knead it well and forget about it until convenient.
- 6. Sometime later (with a long first rise, a short second rise is fine, but a long one is fine, too) punch the dough down, give it a final kneading, shape into a baguette, slash the top with four diagonal cuts, brush wtih water and let proof for a few minutes (up to 30 minutes is fine). However, if you haven’t the time, it can go straight into the oven.
- 7. You can preheat the oven or put it in a cold oven, it doesn't matters. Bake at 450° f for half an hour. Turn the oven to 425 ° and bake for another 5-20 minutes. (My oven is quite hot, so it came out after 5, but you may need to check yours regularly. Take it out when it sounds hollow when you tap it on the bottom, and the top is golden brown.)