Thee Crunchy Chewy

First batch of my favorite bread this year turned out great. So moist, great stretchy resistance, great crust. And so pretty!

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She Brews, She Bakes: It’s all about the “Yeastie Beasties”

Last weekend my friend Jen came over to help brew a batch of porter (Sweet Dead Lion), and we were reading from the best brewing book of all time, just admiring the way that Charlie Papazian respects the life of each individual yeast. Jen referred to the little guys as “Yeastie Beasties.” We decided to make a few loaves of bread while we were at it, and they turned out great (hope the porter turns out as great!) She asked me to share the recipe, so here it is:

Yeastie Beastie Rosemary Bread
Makes 2 big loaves

1. In a large ceramic bowl, combine without mixing:

  • 3 c warm water (body temp)
  • 1.5 Tbsp dry bread yeast(ie beasties)
  • 1/4 c olive oil
  • 1/4 c honey

2. Sift together in another bowl:

  • 5 c bread flour
  • 1.5 c all purpose flour
  • 1.5 Tbsp sea salt
  • 1/4 c flax seed meal, cornmeal, or wheat bran (optional)
  • a handful of rosemary

3. Gently stir the wet ingredients, then pour the dry into the wet while mixing with a wooden spoon.

4. Fold the mixture together until combined into a large “shaggy” looking ball.

5. Cover loosely with plastic wrap or a damp kitchen towel and let sit (away from drafts) for 1.5 – 2 hours.

6. Once it’s doubled in size, sprinkle the dough with flour, flour hands, and cut in two with a sharp knife on a floured board. “Cloak” each loaf by holding in one hand and tucking the overhanging dough to the bottom a few times.

7. Line a cookie sheet with parchment (or place a baking stone in the cool oven).

8. Pre-heat oven to 400ºF.

9. Place the loaves on the cookie sheet (or on a pizza paddle dusted with plenty of cornmeal). Let sit for 40 min under plastic or a damp kitchen towel.

10. Before placing in the oven, sprinkle each loaf with coarse salt, dust with flour, and slash the tops 1/4″ deep with a serrated knife.

11. Place in the middle rack of the hot oven, with 1 c of hot water in a tray below.

12. Bake with steam for 45 min or until tops are golden.  The loaves should have a very hard exterior (this will soften as they cool).

(lucky) 13. Cool on a rack before slicing, and enjoy!

*Tip! You can put any kind of herb in this recipe in place of or in addition to the rosemary.

*Another Tip! And for a sweeter breakfast style loaf, try leaving out the rosemary and adding a few Tbsp of melted butter, a little molasses, and some chopped nuts to the mix.