Thursdays are almost always a wasted day for me…Mondays through Wednesdays are always such incredibly long and taxing days that I always feel a bit fried by the week’s end. What’s a girl to do? Why bake some bread! Having played by the rules the first go around, I decided to tweak the recipe a bit. Here’s the original recipe with my changes in brackets.
3 cups all-purpose or bread flour, more for dusting [2 1/2 cups white flour + 1/2 cup whole wheat flour]
¼ teaspoon instant yeast
1¼ teaspoons salt [2 tsp.]
Cornmeal or wheat bran as needed [used wheat flour]
[1/2 cup chopped and pitted kalamata olives]
[1 tsp. dried rosemary, crushed]
1. In a large bowl combine flour, yeast and salt. [Add in chopped olives and rosemary.] [Then] add 1 5/8 cups water, and stir until blended; dough will be shaggy and sticky. Cover bowl with plastic wrap. Let dough rest at least
12 hours, preferably about 18 [14 hours], at warm room temperature, about 70 degrees.
2. Dough is ready when its surface is dotted with bubbles. Lightly flour a work surface and place dough on it; sprinkle it with a little more flour and fold it over on itself once or twice. Cover loosely with plastic wrap and let rest about 15 minutes.
3. Using just enough flour to keep dough from sticking to work surface or to your fingers, gently and quickly shape dough into a ball.
Generously coat a cotton towel (not terry cloth) with flour, wheat bran or cornmeal; put dough seam side down on towel and dust with more flour, bran or cornmeal. Cover with another cotton towel and [Coat large sheet of plastic wrap with non-stick cooking spray; put dough seam side down on oiled sheet] and let rise for about 2 hours [4 hours]. When it is ready, dough will be more than double in size and will not readily spring back when poked with a finger.
4. At least a half-hour before dough is ready, heat oven to 450 degrees. Put a
6- to 8-quart heavy covered pot (cast iron, enamel, Pyrex or ceramic) [5 qt. cast iron pot] in oven as it heats. When dough is ready, carefully remove pot from oven. Slide your hand under towel and turn dough over into pot, seam side up; it may look like a mess, but that is O.K. Shake pan once or twice if dough is unevenly distributed; it will straighten out as it bakes. Cover with lid and bake 30 minutes, then remove lid and bake another 15 to 30 minutes [8 minutes], until loaf is beautifully browned. Cool on a rack.
Yield: One 1½-pound loaf.
Oh yeah…and some crafting….