I’ve been refining this bread recipe. The beauty of this recipe is that it is so easy and doesn’t take much time. It seems to stay fresh longer than some of my previous recipes. I make it on Sunday and it is still reasonably fresh for my Thursday lunch sandwich. By Friday it is starting to get a bit dry and stale, but what more can you expect?
15oz hard red spring wheat
12oz tap water
2T unpasteurized apple cider vinegar or whey
1/4t active dry yeast
1 1/2t celtic sea salt
Grind the wheat as finely as possible. Mix in yeast and salt. Add the vinegar to the water. Make a well in the middle of the flour mixture and pour in the liquid. Stir until mixed, cover, and refrigerate over night.
In the morning wet your hands and knead the dough about 10 times. Don’t do it much more than this. I have succeeded in over-kneading my dough after an overnight soak and a very short knead. Cover and let sit at room temperature.
Sometime in the afternoon (anywhere from 3-5) place a piece of parchment paper on an edgeless cookie sheet or pizza peel. Wet your hands and dump out the dough on the counter. Gently fold the dough as you would a business letter and then again once the other direction. Tuck the seams gently underneath - shaping it into a ball - and place in the center of the parchment. Sprinkle a little flour on top and cover with a towel. Let it rise for 1-2 hours. Don’t let it rise too long.
Place a pizza stone on the center oven rack. Place a pan of water on the bottom rack and preheat the oven to 450F. Let the oven preheat at least 30 minutes. Loosen the parchment paper on the cookie sheet so that it slides easily. With a quick jerk slide the bread onto the pizza stone. Bake for about 30 minutes.
So far the inside comes out perfect. The top sometimes gets a little too brown. I think more steam seems to help keep the bread from getting too dark.
UPDATE (9/16/2007): If found that if you put the pizza stone too high in the oven, you will get overdone crust. I put the stone on the lowest or next to lowest rack and then put the pan of water on the top rack.
I also recently tried using hard white spring wheat instead of the red. It make a much lighter colored bread. However, it also seems to be more thirsty. I bumped the water up to 13oz. The extra water seems to make the crumb a little more open as well.