Thursday, January 2, 2014

Overnight Country Blonde

Baked this bread today - it's the second time I've tried this recipe / technique from the book Flour Water Salt Yeast by Ken Forkish.  The first loaves were delicious, and these do not seem likely to disappoint.  This is a pure levain bread, baked without the help of commercial yeast.  The only purchased ingredients were flour and salt.

To make this bread, you need to have some sourdough starter on hand (which term is studiously avoided in the Flour Water Salt Yeast book, in favor of "levain"... probably a more correct term, but "sourdough starter" is a better google, if you want to acquire some).  I used the King Arthur Flour Company's  instructions on making starter from scratch.  It took about 8 days for my primordial starter to take off.  The only purchased ingredient was flour.

We don't have all, or even most, of the equipment recommended in the Flour Water Salt Yeast book, but the bread doesn't seem to mind...  I don't have a big 12-quart graduated proofing bucket, so I just used a big bowl.  I don't have proofing baskets, so I used small bowls lined with floured towels.  (On the first go round I just let the loaves rise on the counter; both ways worked fine.)  I don't have a dutch oven, but the Kitchen Queen oven compartment is small and airtight, so is not too far off from a dutch oven itself.  The loaves were baked in preheated cast iron skillets, with a pan of water in the bottom of the oven to keep it moist inside the oven.  They have nice crusty crusts.

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