Homemade Bread Baking
This recipe is given both in terms of ingredient weight and volume.
Weight will give you a more precise measurement of ingredients, and
inexpensive digital scales are available from a variety of home kitchen
supply stores and catalogs.
We suggest the use of a starter to add a level of complexity to the
bread’s flavor. The easiest starter is a Poolish made as follows:
Unbleached, unbrominated flour – 100 grams (3/4 cup)
Water at room temperature – 100 grams (3 ½ ounces)
Pinch of yeast, either active dry or cake.
Mix all ingredients with a spoon. Cover with plastic wrap in a
non-reactive bowl. Leave at room temperature for at least 24 hours. I have
left a polish at room temperature for up to 48 hours.
Water at 80-90 degrees - 225 grams (1 cup)
Unbleached, unbrominated flour - 400 grams (3 cups)
Poolish from above. If you are not using a starter, add the weight
of ingredients from the starter to insure the correct proportions of
water to flour.
Yeast – one package of active dry, or 4 grams of cake (4 grams of
cake yeast is about ¼ inch sliced off the 1 inch square cake available
at my local supermarket - look in the refrigerated section).
Salt – 10 grams (3 level teaspoons)
1. Mix water and flour, let stand for ten minutes. For this
step, you do not want to begin kneading the dough. Just mix until the
water is fully absorbed into the flour.
2. Add the poolish and yeast, knead by hand for 10 minutes or by
machine for 6-8 minutes. You can tell when the bread is sufficiently
kneaded by employing a test called windowpane. Stretch a section of the
dough until it forms a very thin sheet that is translucent. The dough is
done when you can stretch a thin translucent “windowpane” without the
dough breaking. The dough should be wet. If the dough is too dry, add a
3. Add the salt and knead for an additional 2 minutes or so to
disperse the salt through the dough.
4. Place the dough in an oiled non-reactive bowl cover with
plastic. Lift one corner of the plastic and mist the dough with water.
|5. Let the dough rise
until it has approximately doubled in size. Fold the dough over four times
by turning the bowl ninety degrees and pulling the edge of the dough
furthest way from you over the top of the rest of the dough. After the
fourth fold, lift the entire ball of dough and turn it over in the bowl.
|Cover and mist again and let rise
another hour or so. I have experimented a fair amount with rising time.
The amount of time required for the bread to double in size will depend on
the temperature of the room and the dough, and on the condition of the
yeast you use. Also, if you like an airy loaf, you will want to allow for
longer rise and proofing time (second rising).
|6. Turn the dough out
onto a lightly floured board. Add as little flour as possible to the dough
at this stage. Divide dough into three or four equal parts. If you have
the full size bread baker, you can bake three loaves at the same time. If
you have the 2/3 size baker, and will need to bake in two batches, 2
loaves each batch.
7. Form dough into crude loaves by flattening dough into a
square pancake about 4-5 inches on a side.
|Fold the third of the dough
furthest away from you over onto the middle third and press the edge into
the underlying layer of dough.
Repeat by folding the double layer
section over the third of the dough closest to you, pressing the edges
together again. See series of photos. Press each layer lightly into the
underlying layer. Do not knead the dough at this stage, as we want to keep
as much air as possible in the dough.
8. Let these crude loaves stand for ten minutes.
9. At this stage, we want to form the loaves into their final
|The loaves should end up about
16-17 inches long, if you are using the full size baker, 10-11 inches long
if you are using the 2/3 size baker. The way we shape the loaves is to
form an indentation in the center of the loaf along the length of the
loaf. Fold the bread over the and press the edges together. Repeat a seond
time. To form the loaves to their final length and shape, roll the loaves
gently under both palms for final shaping. See sereis of photos.
|10. Place the loaves on
parchment paper square.
11. Cover the loaves loosely with plastic wrap. Mist the plastic
wrap with water to keep the loaves moist as well as to prevent the plastic
from sticking to the loaves. Let proof for about an hour. We suggest that
you preheat the oven to 425-450 degrees from the time you start this final
proofing. This will insure the baking stone is at oven temperature when
you load the loaves.
12. When it is time to bake the loaves, remove the plastic wrap
and score the loaves with a very sharp knife or razor blade. I like three
diagonal cuts along the top of the loaves.
13. Load and steam loaves according to the procedure at the
beginning of the
Step-by-step Instructions. Bake the loaves for 25-30 minutes (including
time in the steam chamber). Half way through the uncovered baking time,
turn the baking stone or the parchment paper 180 degrees to insure even
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||1 3/8 cups
|Water, room temperature
||½ cup + 2 tablespoons
||4 - 4.5 ounces
- Mix flour and yeast in bowl or bowl
of an electric mixer. Add a little more then 1/2 cup of the water and
mix to form a coarse ball. If using an electric mixer, mix on low
speed for one minute with paddle mixer. Adjust the flour or water to
form a dough that is neither too stiff or sticky. Err on the sticky
- Dust the counter with flour and
transfer the dough to the counter. Knead for 5 minutes, or mix on
second (medium) speed with the dough hook for 3 minutes. Dough should
be soft and pliable, not too sticky.
- Transfer the dough to a lightly
oiled bowl, coat with oil and cover with plastic wrap. Keep at room
temperature for 2-4 hours. Dough should double in size.
- Remove dough from bowl and knead
lightly to degas. Return to bowl and place in refrigerator over night
or up to three days. Biga can be frozen for longer periods.
Step 2: Pane Pugliese
| Pane Pugliese Recipe
– Makes Two 1 lb. loaves
||(about 10.8 ounces)
||2 ¼ cups
||1 ½ teaspoons
|Water at 90 - 100 F
||1 – 1 1/8 cups
1. Remove the biga from the refrigerator at least one hour before making
the dough. Cut into smaller pieces or flatten on a lightly floured
surface to speed the warming process. Cover with plastic so it doesn’t
2. Mix flour, salt and yeast in bowl. Add biga and 1 cup water. Mix
until dough forms wet, sticky ball. Use low speed and paddle attachment
if using an electric mixer.
3. If you are mixing by hand, mix in the bowl for several minutes to
develop the gluten before transferring dough to floured counter surface.
If using an electric mixer, use second speed (medium) and dough hook for
about 4 minutes until dough forms smooth, sticky ball and separates from
the sides of the bowl. Dough will still be sticking to the bottom of the
4. Transfer dough to lightly floured counter and continue to knead. The
dough should be wet and sticky. You may want to use a scrapper or rubber
spatula and use a stretch and fold technique more then a conventional
kneading motion to work the dough. As the gluten develops further the
stickiness will diminish. Resist the urge to add more flour. The wetter
the dough, the better the bread.
5. Cover the dough with plastic and let rest for 15 – 30 minutes. Work
the dough again with the stretch and fold method for 4-5 minutes. The
longer you repeat the process, the less sticky the dough will become.
6. Repeat the rest, stretch and fold method for a third time. Lightly
oil a large mixing bowl and transfer the dough to the bowl. Cover with
plastic. Use a mister to humidify the air space in the bowl. Leave dough
undisturbed for at least two hours.
7. Dust counter with flour. Transfer dough to counter, taking care not
to degas the dough any more then necessary. Using a metal scrapper or
knife, divide the dough into two pieces. Dust hands with flour and
gently form dough into two boules. Place them seam side down on
parchment paper in preparation for loading to oven. If you use proofing
bowls, transfer dough, seam side up to proofing bowls.
8. Mist the top of the dough with water or light oil and cover with
plastic wrap or damp towel. You do not want to let the surface of the
dough dry out and form a crust during proofing.
9. Proof at room temperature for 60-90 minutes until dough has expanded
1 ½ to 2 times. Preheat oven with baking stone to 450 F at least one
hour before baking.
10. Five minutes before you are to place loaves in oven, fill and plug
in steam generator according to instruction in manual and on website (www.steambreadbaker.com).
Be sure to read and follow all safety instructions for operating steam
11. Transfer loaves to a peel or bottom of a ½ size baking sheet for
transfer to the oven. Score tops of loaves with # sign or cross in the
12. Transfer loaves to baking stone. Cover with steam insert lid and
inject steam to steam chamber for 10 – 25 seconds.
13. 5-10 minutes into baking process, remove lid from steam chamber and
bake for the remainder of baking time on uncovered baking stone.
14. Bake for 30-40 minutes total, or until bread curst is a deep golden
brown. Remove from oven and cool on rack for at least 30 minutes before
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