Thursday, March 11, 2010

Greek Country Bread

Here's the bread I mentioned in my crostini post. It's great for a beginning bread maker because it's a resilient dough. No, (like me) you might not know if the bread has over-fermented a bit, if it's under-proofed just a wee smidge, or if the loaf has fully tripled in size. But give it a try. Did I mention this dough is resilient? And it's gratifying as heck to go through the process. If nothing else, your kitchen will smell amazing. No worries, though, it'll be good bread! It's "light and billowy" crumb and irresistibly crispy crust will keep you reaching for the bread basket.

Pan de Horiadaki -- Greek Country Bread
from A Blessing of Bread
makes 2 rounds and requires about 5 hours (1 hour active time)

7 1/2 cups bread flour
1 t. instant yeast
3 cups warm water
1 T plus 1 1/2 t. salt
2 T plus 1 t. sugar
2 T. olive oil, plus extra for oiling pans

In the bowl of a stand mixer, combine the flour and yeast. Add the warm water and, using a spoon, mix it in just until the flour is moistened and a rough dough forms. Cover the dough and let it rest for 15 minutes.

Mix the dough
  • Using the dough hook, mix the dough on medium speed until it is very smooth, soft and tacky, 10-15 minutes. If it seems too firm, add a Tablespoon or two of water. Add more flour if it's super sticky.
  • Add the salt, sugar and oil and mix on medium speed until the sugar and the salt have dissolves, about 2 minutes. At this point, the dough should tighten up and clean the work bowl. Test the dough by stretching a small portion of it; if you can almost see through it when stretch without shredding, you're good to go. If not, continue to mix another minute. And add more water if necessary.
Ferment the dough
  • Place the dough into a large bowl and cover with plastic wrap or a clean tea towel. Let dough rise until it has doubled in bulk, about 2 hours, depending on the temperature of your kitchen.
  • Generously oil two 8-inch round cake pans. Divide the dough in half and deflate each, and shape into tight balls. Coat each with oil in the cake pans and cover with plastic wrap. (At this point the dough can be refrigerated for up to 24 hours.) Let the dough ferment until it has doubled in bulk, about 1 hour (2 if it's been refrigerated).
Shape and proof the dough
  • Remove rounds from cake pans. Shape them into tightly rounded loaves and put them back in their pans seam side down. Oil tops and cover with plastic. (Again, you can refrigerate for 24 hours.) Let dough proof until tripled in size, about 1 hour (2 if it's been refrigerated).
  • After shaping the dough and while it's proofing, preheat the oven to 400.
Baking the dough
  • When the loaves have tripled in size and remains indented when gently pressed, lightly oil again, and bake for 50-55 minutes. After the first 35 minutes of baking, rotate the pans so the bread browns evenly.
  • When the loaves are done, they should sound hollow when knocked, remove from the oven and cool on racks.
  • Enjoy!

1 comment: