23 October 2007

crusty on the outside, soft on the inside

it feels like months since i started my mission to alter my bread recipe to crusty & soft perfection, and now i finally have a success. All bread recipes i've tried before were either wonderfully crusty yet too dense inside, or incredibly soft inside.... but also soft outside :| I finally got a good balance, tweaked it a bit more, and voila! i can't imagine wanting to buy a loaf of bread from the grocery store ever again. This is for one loaf of bread, but you can easily double it.

what you'll need:
1 c. warm water
2 tbsp honey (or granulated sugar)
1 tsp active dry yeast
2 tsp salt
1 tbsp vegetable oil
2/3 c. whole wheat flour
2 - 2 1/3 cup all purpose flour
corn meal
1 eggwhite
1 tbsp water

Begin by dissolving the honey or sugar in 1/2 c warm water. Add the yeast and stir until mixed. Let the mixture sit to proof until the yeast becomes creamy and foamy.

After the yeast has proofed, mix in the salt and vegetable oil. Mix the wheat flour then 2 cups white flour 1/2 c. at a time. Knead in the last 1/2 cup of white flour on your work surface. If the dough is too soft to form, add up to 1/3 c. flour.

Place in a well oiled bowl and turn to coat. Cover and let rise 3 times (for 45 minutes to 1 hour each), each time, deflating the dough and turning over. The last rise is optional.

After the last rise, knead lightly to get rid of trapped gas bubbles and shape onto a pan sprinkled with corn meal. Cover and let rise another hour.

When your bread is ready to bake, make an egg glaze with the egg white and water and brush onto the top of your bread. Make a few slits along the top with a sharp knife. Bake the bread on the bottom rack of an oven pre-heated to 425 for 25-30 minutes. To give more moisture, and make the bread crustier, either place a pan filled with water in the oven while the bread bakes -or- spray the bread with a clean water bottle filled with water before placing it in the oven, then again halfway through baking.


Katie said...

I need to try this - I've been wanting to get into bread-making and this looks great!

Maribel said...

Well said.