Tuesday, February 6, 2018

Overnight Rustic Bread

I love homemade bread but for the longest time was afraid to attempt to make it. When I was a kid my mum took a breadmaking class and came home and made all this wonderful bread, I think only once, but I still remember the wonderful smell and taste. My Sisters-in-law and friends make amazing homemade bread. So, I tried once or twice ... and made some nice garden pavers.

I wasn't really committed to the time and process involved. So I got a breadmaker - two actually, but that is another story - and followed the recipes provided, but they were usually overcooked, and the size of the loaf was not at all practical. And it still wasn't the texture or taste I was craving. I gave the breadmakers away.

Many, many years passed. I found a recipe for hot-cross buns in a bread machine book that I had bought. I experimented and modified it so I could make it with a stand-mixer. I succeeded, and make them every year for Easter.

During a year of cancer treatment in 2016, the chemo completely altered/ruined my sense of taste, and I was miserable, to say the least. It took 4-5 months for my full sense of taste to return after my chemo was done, with an appetite to match after losing 40lb. I developed a whole new appreciation for food, food preservation, cooking, and baking. My family now enjoys more desserts among other things!

After a Christmas trip to Canada, where our host, Kathy, made amazing fresh bread, buns, and cinnamon rolls multiple times weekly and my Sister-in-law Glenna made her Mom's "best ever buns" I resolved to make 2018 my year to conquer and master bread.

So, here is a simple overnight bread recipe from another sister-in-law, Pauline. It is a common recipe, but I bake it a little differently for a softer crust, as I don't like it overly crunchy.

Simple Overnight Rustic Bread


2-1/2 cups white bread flour
1/2 cup whole wheat flour
1 t. Kosher salt
1/4 t. instant yeast
1-1/3 cup cold water

Mix dry ingredients with a fork. Add water and stir vigorously until all flour is incorporated into a shaggy dough. Cover bowl tightly with plastic wrap or a lint-free tea towel and leave on the kitchen counter for 18 – 24 hours.

Cut a square of parchment paper and lay it in a bowl (about the size of your dutch oven.) Pull the dough out of the mixing bowl, gathering it into a smooth ball. Place the ball, smooth side up, onto the parchment paper. Cover loosely with plastic wrap or a lint-free tea towel. Allow to rise 1-1/2 to 2 hours.

Meanwhile, heat oven and Dutch oven to 450°F. Lift parchment paper by ends and place in hot Dutch oven. Bake for 30 minutes until deep golden brown. Immediately remove bread from Dutch oven, discard parchment, and allow to cool on a rack. I wrap mine in a lint-free tea towel to maintain the soft crust. 

I'd like to try making buns from this recipe too, on a pizza stone. I'll let you know how it goes!