Easy E Bread (gwensnest)

3 c warm water
1 1/2 T kosher or coarse salt
6 c whole wheat flour or 6 1/2 c unbleached ( can use white flour, fresh ground whole wheat flour or anything in between and this recipe will still work)
1 1/2 T instant/fast rise yeast (2 packets)

In a large 5 qt container, combine all ingredients. Stir with a wooden spoon until the dough is evenly wet with no dry spots. Cover your container loosely, and allow to rise on the counter top for 2 hours. The dough should almost triple in size and begin to collapse on itself and flatten on top. You can allow it to rise overnight and it won’t hurt anything. Chill dough for at least 3 hours. You can bake it before chilling, but it’s easier to work with cold and the flavor improves with age. To Bake a Loaf of Bread: Place a baking stone in your oven and put a sheet of parchment paper on a pizza peel. An upside down baking sheet can be subbed for either the baking stone or pizza peel. Wet your hands. The dough is very sticky and soft. You’ll want to treat it gently so you’ll not deflate those beautiful air pockets. Cut or tear away about a fourth of the bread dough…approx the size of a large grapefruit. Gently shape the dough into any shape of your choice on the parchment paper, smoothing out the top into a ‘gluten cloak’. It’s OK if it looks wompy. Set a timer for 20 min once you get the bread shaped. You’re going to let it rise for a total of 40 min, while you pre-heat the oven to 450º F. Set the timer for 20 more min. Your bread dough won’t have risen much, if at all, at this point, and this is normal. NORMAL, I say. No worries. Top with kosher salt or herbs/seeds if desired. Slash top to allow gasses to escape while baking. When the timer goes off, slide the bread in and bake for 25 – 30 min until golden brown. Note: You may use your dough up to 2 weeks past the mix date. It’s normal for the dough to have tiny pinhole bubbles in the surface, and for the surface to darken a bit due to oxidation of the very top layer. It will not affect the flavor or quality of your bread.

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