When I talk to most people about bread baking at home, they seem to smile a little, and look as though ,I asked them to build a bridge to the moon. The truth is anything can be made complicated and with bread, there is no need for it to be that way at all.In our video collection, we show it being done very simply. Basically, we use our standard dough recipe. The bread that it produces is just fantastic. The technique is simple and you can see it here in our video. Bread Baking is Easy
In a nutshell, we are using a double proof process. Starting with the basic dough that has risen once ( and is usually two days old after being kept in the refrigerator). You take the dough ball and lay it out on your table. Be sure that you do not put a lot of flour on your dough. You may need a small bit of flour, (if the dough is sticky,) so you can work with it. You then flatten the dough out slightly and begin to roll it up from one end into itself . Roll it up until it has that shape of a loaf. When the dough is all rolled up, pinch the seam together so it stays closed and put it onto your tray.
What you are doing is taking out the gas from the dough, that gas (Co2) has formed from the yeast activity on the first rise. Then by punching it back down (via rolling it up) and letting it proof again you are giving it a double rise. The double rise allows the dough to form more structure and body lots of nooks and crannies or cell structure that will make a great bread.
When the dough is all rolled up and the seams are sealed, place the dough back onto a lightly floured sheet pan-
or your dough tray seam side down . You don’t want the dough to stick while it rises again. Let the dough rise for 2 hours in a warm location or until it doubled in size. Then take your dough out and place it on a lightly floured pizza peel. Split the top of the dough open with a sharp knife, (or razor) lengthwise about 1/4 inch deep. drizzle some olive oil down the slit or melted butter.
Before you put the bread into the oven be sure that the oven flames have died down, you don’t want a flame to cook the bread or too hot of an oven. A GOOD RANGE IS ABOUT 450F.
Now you are ready to cook the bread. Place the bread away from the embers or fire. Let it cook a few minutes and be sure that the side facing the fire does not burn. Once you observe the bread is cooking nicely and slowly you can turn it around, so you cook it evenly on both sides. Then you can close the door of the oven.
When the bread is done cooking it will have a nice brown color with the top split open.
When you take the bread out turn it over dust off any burnt flour and tap on the bottom. The bread should sound hollow and be firm. Allow the bread to cool before slicing it. You can make a big loaf or small ones. You can top the loafs with cheeses, onions, garlic olives before cooking to add some great flavor.
Bread Baking is Fun!
Once you made your first loaf you will be more confident ,Bread Baking is not hard but truly enjoyable. Fresh bread is fantastic.and fun for the family!