Because the pizza party from a few weeks ago didn’t exactly prove to you how much fun a cob oven is, when I was making bread in it the other day I decided to video the process.
And in fact today I’m going to make more bread in it. Partly because the bread is really good and partly because it’s just fun. Also I’m out of bread, and like any good mini-Martha instead of going to the store to buy bread, well of course I’m going to bake some myself in the cob oven I built.
I’m not sure when this happened to me but I have a hunch it’s only going to get worse, culminating with me growing my own heart valve when I’m 80.
This was just a basic, white bread recipe that you can use in any oven, not just a cob oven.
It’s originally from the book Artisan Bread in Five Minutes a Day: The Discovery That Revolutionizes Home Baking. I don’t own the book yet but it’s only a matter of time because if this recipe is a representation of how good this book is … I need it. Actually … hold on a second while I go order it.
I’m back. Book has been ordered.
update: I’ve since ordered the book and use it every week. Always. I am never not making bread.
It’s a no knead bread, but not the kind that’s been making the rounds on the Internet over the past few years. That no knead bread is a very, very wet dough that has to be baked in some sort of pot or crock. I love that bread by the way and make a lot of it … this just isn’t that sort of no knead recipe. It’s a wet dough, but manageable unlike the other no knead recipes.
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Basic White Bread
Makes 3 loaves:
3 cups lukewarm water
1 tbsp granulated yeast (1 packet)
1 1⁄2 tbsp coarse kosher or sea salt
6 1⁄2 cups unsifted, unbleached, all-purpose white flour
Cornmeal for pizza peel
Preheat oven to 450 f.
Add 1 Tbsp. yeast to bowl along with 1-2 Tbsps kosher salt.. Add 3 cups warm water. Stiry.
Gradually add 6 1⁄2 cups flour.
Stir the mixture until it’s thickened and well combined. I use this Danish Whisk which is GREAT. Cover bowl with tea towel. Allow to rise for 2 hours.
Once the dough has risen divide it into 3. Form each section into a ball and pull the 4 sides of the dough to the underneath. This is stretching out the gluten and aligning it. It also gives you a nice tight top to the bread.
You can also just use 1/3rd of the dough, and put the remaining dough in the fridge for up to 2 weeks.
Leave the dough for its final proof on a very well floured couche (the floured, linen mat you see in my video) or tea towel for 45 minutes. Cover with a couche or gently cover with a light, floured tea towel.
After it’s proved, gently transfer to your peel or baking tray/stone. Cut several slashes across the top. This allows the bread to move upwards as opposed to sideways when it bakes.
Bake until the interior temperature of the bread is 205 f. (around 25 minutes).
* if you want a crispier crust, when you’re heating your oven add a deep pan. Right after you put your bread in the oven, throw a cup of water into the empty hot pan. This will create steam which is GREAT for baking bread.
Consider this next fact a warning. If you make 3 loaves of bread, you will eat 3 loaves of bread. I did. No joke. I ate 3 loaves of bread in 3 days. By myself. I now have back fat. This is a serious warning and not even a joke. YOU WILL GET FAT if you make homemade bread. There’s no way around it.
If you can deal with that, then bake away. If you can’t you’d best stick to other baking. Like baked broccoli. Which taste especially good with a nice cheese sauce and a big … slice … of bread.