Celebrating the delights of good healthy everyday food and special treats! Sharing recipes, information, and experiences.

Thursday, May 19, 2011

Updated Method for Bread Baking

I’m still sold on the “Healthy Bread in Five Minutes a Day” technique and recipes from Jeff Hertzberg and Zoe Francois (2009, St. Martins Press) however I’ve been trying some adaptations mentioned in the book or on their blog.  Here is my current method for baking off a baguette with italicized text noting changes from how I was baking it by their standard technique.

Start with a grapefruit sized piece of the Master Dough Recipe
(http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HSOoH686_b8) or page 53 of the book. 

Preheat the oven to 450 degrees for 30 minutes with baking stone on the lowest shelf of oven; no roasting pan in the bottom of the oven as required in previous method.  By the way, I recently got an oven thermometer and learned my oven was off by 30 degrees (lower) when set on 450 so I’d encourage you to check your oven temp if you haven’t lately.

Shape, rest, covered, on silpat, brush with water, sprinkle with mixed sesame seeds and kosher salt, and slash as in original recipe.

When oven is ready, place silpat with bread on baking stone and cover with a disposable baking pan large enough to cover the dough completely and still fit on baking stone.  This is now how the steam is generated instead of water poured into a hot roasting pan.

Bake for 15 minutes.    Remove baking pan and move bread, without silpat or baking stone, to an upper rack in oven and bake an additional 10 minutes or until golden brown.

This steam method works-when you take the disposable baking pan off the bread, there is still steam under there so be careful not to burn yourself.  I didn’t have any problems with my oven from the other steam method, but read about plenty of people who had problems with the control boards going out which was blamed on the steam.  This method avoids any possibility of that.  Moving the bread up in the oven for part of the baking time gives the top crust more color and crunch.

Are you baking your own bread?  I’d love to hear about your experiences, methods in the comments.