Well, our first recipe video is up! I'll embed it below...
First, let me apologize for all the video cutting...I had to do a lot of snipping to get under the youtube 15 min limit.
We're making easy homemade bread, here's the recipe:
15 oz bread flour
1/4 tsp RapidRise (instant) Yeast
1 and 1/2 tsp kosher salt (sure, regular salt is fine)
7 oz water (warm)
3 oz beer (any kind will do...experiment!)
1 tbsp white vinegar
a handfull of cornmeal
As I watch the video, I realize that it looks a bit complicated...trust me, it's not...if you can make Bisquick biscuits, you can make this...promise!
Lets talk about what we'll need for this bread. I strongly recommend buying a scale. They're only about $10 and really will help make consistent foods. If you refuse to buy one, you can substitute 3 cups for the 15 oz of flour, but use the scoop and level method, as a 5 oz cup of flour is pretty heavy.
Also, I use Parchment Paper in the video...it's wonderful stuff. As opposed to wax paper, which is impregnated with wax, Parchment Paper is impregnated with silicon which has several advantages. First, it will withstand the high baking temperatures we use here, also the dough won't stick to it, and finally when you use it for cookie recipes it will prevent spread. So, go buy some, it's only a couple of bucks.
Lastly, I use a Lodge Enameled Dutch Oven. They go for between 50 and 60 bucks. This is the most expensive piece of cookware I own, and I use it at least weekly. You can also use a cast iron dutch oven which should be about 10 bucks cheaper than my enameled version and will work fine in this recipe since we're using Parchment Paper. If you don't want to invest that much money, use your imagination...the important thing is to use something heavy (so it will retain heat, which is needed for the initial 'spring' or oven rise), with a lid (which will help ensure the inside cooks before the crust is burnt), and without plastic handles (which will melt at the oven temperatures we're using). I've also seen Pyrex, or Ceramic cookware recommended. I saw one guy use a pizza stone with a pot over it for a lid...so, be creative!
Onto the cooking!
Into a mixing bowl, place the flour, yeast, and salt...then mix. Next add the vinegar, beer, and water...mix again until all of the flour has been incorporated into the dough. Now, simply cover the bowl with saran wrap and let sit for about 18 hours.
I talk in the video about that 18 hours...chances are, the bread will have risen fully before then, but the 18 hours will help develop the flavor we want. More than 18 hours and the dough will get progressively mushier and harder to work with...but you don't have to be exact--one or two hours on either side of the 18 should be ok (though I tend to err on the side of longer, if I have to). Can't make 18 hours fit into your schedule? You can refrigerate it at any point and pick up where you left off if you need to...some people even say that will further develop the flavor!
After 18 hours, lightly flour your counter top and transfer your dough. Fold it several times to break up the big bubbles. Put a square of Parchment Paper in a new bowl, spray that with nonstick vegetable oil, and dust the bottom with cornmeal (the cornmeal will not only help prevent the bread from sticking, but helps make a neat crust). Now let's talk about the bowl here...you can use anything, but the narrower it is, the taller your loaf will be. I recommend using something like I use in the video. You can use a skillet, but that produces a wider, shorter loaf. Now, cover the bowl with a towel and let sit for two hours...
About an hour and a half into this second rise, you'll want to preheat your oven to 450 WITH THE DUTCH OVEN INSIDE. Your baking vessel needs to be good and hot to help with that last 'oven rise.'
After preheating for 30 minutes, the dough should be ready...take out your dutch oven, pick up the dough by the Parchment Paper and drop it into your dutch oven...Parchment Paper and all.
Most recipes say to cook at 450 with the lid on for about 30 min, then uncover and cook for 10-15 min more...that doesn't work for this recipe in my oven. It burns the crust. I cook covered for about 40 minutes, check, and if the crust still needs some browning...let it cook uncovered for another couple of minutes.
Now remember...if you're using a dutch oven, it will retain a lot of heat, so when you pull it out of the oven, immediately take your bread out so it doesn't keep cooking. Let cool for an hour or two (for me this is the hardest part), then cut and enjoy!
Also remember...the bread you buy at the store is more like a chemistry experiment than traditional bread. It is engineered to have a long shelf life and taste like...well, I'd rather not say. This stuff...this wonderful bread you've made, will only keep for a day or two. Not that it will last that long!
I hope you liked our first actual recipe video...even more, I hope you actually cook it! Let me know how it turns out...and stay tuned for more...