As most of you know by now, I've been on a bread-making kick since I received a bread machine for Christmas last year. To be honest, my bread machine adventures have been far from successful. Okay maybe that's overstating how it's been. I've just not gotten the success I was hoping for. A few weekends ago, we finally bought a cast iron Le Creuset and I made Jim Lahey's No-Knead Bread and that came out great. Wasn't perfect but was pretty darned good. I've tried to make it a few times since then and the kids love it. I don't like the commitment required for it though. If I start the dough on Saturday, I have to make sure I'm home on Sunday, or Tony needs to complete it for me (which he does great at by the way!!).
|Garlic Rosemary Bread|
Adapted from: The Pioneer Woman - The Bread, In His Words
Time Required: 20 min prep time, ~3.5 hours rise time, 45 min oven time.
- 4 cups All-purpose flour (plus more for dusting)
- 1.5 cups + 2 tbsp Water
- 2 tbsp Minced fresh Rosemary
- 2 tbsp Minced Garlic
- 2 tsp Coarse Salt (Sea or Kosher)
- 1 tsp Active Dry Yeast
To get the yeast started, dissolve in a cup of tepid tap water (the water should be barely warm to touch) and set aside while you're measuring your other ingredients. In the next 5-8 minutes the water will be become cloudy and foamy.
Measure out the flour, coarse salt, minced garlic and rosemary in the Stand Mixer bowl. If you're using dry rosemary, you may need to add a tad more, about 3 tbsp to get the same flavor as the essential oils in herbs are often volatile and tend to evaporate over time.
Add 0.5 cups of water and start mixing (I used the lowest speed setting). As the yeast/water mix begins to cloud and froth, start adding small portions of it to the mixer bowl (adding all that water at once makes a mess with flour flying everywhere ;)!!). In the end, the dough should come together as a large ball. If the dough looks like it's not coming together and there are crumbs still sticking to the sides, add water in 1 tablespoon portions until everything is incorporated. Depending upon how fresh or old your flour is it may sometimes need just a tad extra water. Be patient with this step as it is easy to add too much and you will most likely not need to much. I needed just 2 additional tablespoons of water. Once you have everything incorporated, make note of the clock time. You will need to knead for about 10-15 minutes depending upon the dough.
If during this time, all you see is a big fat pillar like in the picture above, I would stop the unit, use a rubber spatula to make the dough drop to the bottom of the bowl and then turn the mixer on again.
Once you successfully achieve a windowpane with the dough, you can stop kneading. This is when stretched out dough looks somewhat translucent (light goes through it like a windowpane). Mine took about 13 minutes to get to that point. The original recipe indicated that they needed only 10 minutes. I took a picture of mine but you don't see the translucency very well. Another good sign is when you can stretch it a lot without tearing.
At this point use a rubber spatula to remove the dough onto a well floured surface. In my trials and errors I've used pastry stones, the kitchen counter itself and found that what works best is a silicone baking mat. It uses very little flour to help shape the dough and doesn't stick as much as some other surfaces do. Lightly dust your fingers and shape the dough into a ball.
|before rise ..|
Keeping the seam side down, transfer to a bowl, cover with plastic wrap and allow the dough to rise for approximately 4 hours. Yeast needs a temperature of 80° F–90° F (27° C–32° C) to grow and reproduce at dough fermentation stage. It will however, work as low as 70° F although it takes longer. One way to aid the process is Oven Rising. Turn on your oven at the lowest temperature setting (usually 150-170 F) for home appliances. Leave on for 2-5 minutes and turn off. Do this just before or while you're preparing your dough. Then, once the oven feels like it just nice and cozy warm, put the bowl of dough to rise in there. Make sure that the air feels only barely warm and anything over 90° F will burn i.e. KILL the yeast. Here's a nice primer on the Science of Bread. This is especially helpful in spring/fall when our houses are cooler than usual.
|After a 2-hour rise ..|
At this point, I could smell the awesome garlicky yeasty aroma of the rising bread every time I came into the kitchen. Because the dough was rising in the oven today, my husband could not smell it very well. I allowed around a 3.5 hour rise time today. The rough was ready to spill out of the bowl I'd used today (see picture). Also, the surface of the dough was dotted with tiny bubbles and crevices. About 30 minutes before the rise is complete, start preheating your oven to 450° F. Set your dutch oven (I used my 5.5 qt Round Le Creuset) in the cold oven and preheat at the same time as the oven.
|After a 3-hour rise ..|
Remove dough from bowl and once again knead into a round ball using a silicone mat and some flour for dusting. Score the loaf either once or twice across the top. While scoring is not essential for loafs made in pans, I think they make for a pleasing visual effect.
According to The Fresh Loaf - "... the purpose of scoring is primarily to control the direction in which the bread will expand during “oven spring.” Intentionally creating a weak spot on the surface of the loaf prevents the loaf from bursting at weak spots created during shaping. The pattern of cuts made, the angle at which they are made and the depth of the cuts also influence the rate of expansion and the formation of an “ear” - a raised flap of crust at the edge of a cut. The pattern of cuts also can create a pleasing visual pattern on the surface of the loaf. While there are some very traditional patterns, for example for baguettes, the baker can use the scoring pattern to identify the type of bread or to create an unique pattern that identifies the loaf as coming from his or her oven."
Once the loaf is ready, remove preheated pot from the oven. Remove lid and set aside. You do not need to grease the pot at all. No butter/oil is necessary. The enameled pot and the style of cooking (with lid) allows for the crust to form which helps prevent the loaf from sticking to the pot. Slide your hands under the loaf and gently drop the dough into the pot, scored side up. Shake the pan a couple of times to help distribute the loaf, if necessary. This is a more hearty loaf than the no-knead so may not move much.
Remove pot from oven, give it a good shake and the loaf should shake loose immediately. Gently remove the loaf from the pot and allow to cool on a cooling rack. Allow bread to cool completely before cutting into it. Enjoy!!! :)
My Assessment: OMG!! The flavor was amazing. If you love garlic bread, this loaf is definitely for you. The crust was awesome which prompted me to call it 'artisan' bread. The inside had some rather large alveoli but in other places the loaf was denser than I imagined it would be after the wonderful rise I got. I'm wondering if that was a combination of scoring and pan baking because there are websites which say that pan loafs need not be scored. I think I will play with the scoring a little bit as I make it more and more. Unless I can find another awesome recipe, this bread may just make it to my Thanksgiving table.
Total Fat 6.2 g; Carbohydrates 392.9 g; Fiber 17.5 g; Sugars 1.5 g; Protein 54.6 g