Thursday, March 24, 2011

My First Attempt at Artisan Bread

I got this amazing artisan bread cookbook for Christmas, and I have been wanting to make something from it ever since I got my hands on my new treasure! A couple of weeks ago I finally decided to make the Focaccia bread that looked sooo incredibly delicious. The recipe was much more involved than anything I had made before (bread-wise), but it looked like fun and a challenge I was ready to take on! So one Saturday evening I made a poolish for the first time ever. I got the flour, water, and pinch of yeast together and let it ferment overnight (the recipe called for 16 hours). I was so excited when I checked in on it the next morning! It was a big, juicy, bubbly, goo-like substance -- and the smell was strong!

It's actually a recipe for Ciabatta dough.
I added the rest of the ingredients to the poolish, which happened to just be more of what I had put in the night before. Then I had to stir it for approximately one hundred hours. Well, that's not entirely true. The recipe called to put it in a mixer and let it go for 6 minutes on medium speed. Well, the only mixer I have is my own arm power. And when my fingers are cramping up, the speed is slow. Anyone who thinks six minutes flies by should go grab a spoon and stir an almost solid flour mixture for that much time. One minute can seem like five hours! Well, I did it, and promptly did no more (which is what the recipe called for). Thank god. 

Ready to sit
 Then you let it ferment for thirty minutes, fold it in all sorts of directions (the book came with a video on how to properly do this! It was fantastic), and repeat the process three more times. Once it's all done you spread it out on a baking sheet and act like you're playing the piano whilst dimpling the dough. Let it sit some more. Add whatever your heart desires to the surface of the dough. Mine desired onion and garlic powder, basil and parsley, sauteed onions and garlic, and later on it was topped with feta.

Folding was fun!
Piano fingers
I love the bubbles!

Baking away...

It was soo good! The bread was incredible. Not only was it delicious, but it was so pretty with all the holes and seasonings on top! Will definitely make this bread again.

The Finished Product!

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