Artisan White Bread:
Place the flour, yeast, malt powder, and salt,
into the bowl of your electric stand mixer, fitted with the dough hook. Stir
until combined. Add the water, and knead the dough on 1st speed for five
minutes. Increase your mixer speed to 2nd speed and continue to knead the dough
for about 8 minutes or until the dough cleans the bowl and is smooth, elastic,
and slightly sticky.
To check to see if the dough is fully kneaded, use
the 'windowpane' test. (See video for demonstration.) To do this, start with a
small fistful of dough. Gently stretch it. For a fully kneaded dough you should
be able to stretch the dough quite thin, without it tearing. If the dough tears
easily, knead it for a minute or two longer.
Place your dough in a large
bowl that has been lightly oiled. Turn the dough once so
the top of the dough has a light coating of oil (this prevents a crust from
forming on the top of the dough). Cover with plastic wrap and let proof
at room temperature (about 75 degree F) (24 degree C) for 30 minutes.
Next, turn out your dough onto
a lightly floured surface. You want the top of the dough to now be on the
bottom. Divide the dough into two equal sized pieces (about 490 grams each).
When you divide the dough use a pastry scraper or knife and cut, don't pull or
stretch, the dough.
Take one piece of the dough
and, on a lightly floured surface, flatten into a round, breaking any large air
bubbles. (You may want to lightly
flour your hands.) Take the edges of the dough
and fold them into the center and gently seal. Then flip your dough over so the
smooth side is facing up. With the palms of your hands rotate the ball of dough on
your surface to create surface tension and to seal the edges of the dough
completely. Place, seam side down, onto a lightly floured baking sheet. Repeat this process
with the other piece of dough. Then cover with plastic wrap and let proof
(ferment) for about 30 minutes at room temperature.
Place the dough (top side down)
onto a lightly floured surface. Gently pat the dough into a 6 x 4 inch (15 x 10
cm) rectangle, breaking any large air bubbles. Have the long side of the
rectangle closest to you. Take the right side of the dough and fold it over just
past the center. Seal. Fold the left side of the dough over the center and seal.
(See video for demonstration.) Then take the top of the dough and fold over one
third. Seal. Lastly, take the top of the dough and fold over to the bottom edge.
Seal. Then flip your dough over so the smooth side is facing up. With the palms
of your hands roll the dough until it is just under 7 inches (18 cm) long. Place
(seam side up) on a floured cloth (preferably linen), separating the
two breads by a wrinkle in the cloth. Cover with
plastic wrap that has been lightly oiled or sprayed with a non stick vegetable
spray, and let proof (ferment) for about 90 minutes at room
temperature (the bread should be plump and when you gently press your finger into the
dough it should
leave an indentation).
At least one hour
before baking your bread, preheat your oven to 450 degrees F (220 degrees C). Have your oven rack in the bottom third of
your oven. Place a pizza stone on the oven rack. Also, place a cast iron frying pan
on the floor of your oven (we will be placing ice cubes in the frying pan to
Have ready a
pizza paddle that has been heavily sprinkled with fine cornmeal or semolina.
Gently transfer the bread to the pizza paddle, placing them seam side down. If
desired, lightly brush the tops of the breads with water and sprinkle with
sesame seeds. Then with a razor or sharp knife, score the top of each bread
lengthwise down the center (see video for demonstration). Transfer the bread
onto the hot pizza stone, spacing several inches apart. Quickly place about 6 to
8 ice cubes into the hot cast iron
frying pan (this creates steam). Bake the bread for about 25 to 30
until golden brown. The longer you bake the bread the more crisp the outside
crust. (If you tap the bottom of the bread it will sound
hollow.) Remove from oven and place on a wire rack to cool.
Makes 2 - 7 inch (18 cm) Loaves