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Saturday, January 2, 2010

Overnight Crusty Bread

It was a cold and snowy first day of 2010 here in Gananoque. I was in the mood for some fresh crusty bread, but the inspiration didn't strike until 11:30pm. I resigned myself to a morning loaf and decided to try rising the dough overnight.


1T active dry yeast
1t cane sugar
2 1/4 C warm water
6 C unbleached all-purpose flour
1t salt
2T gluten flour
2T pure maple syrup
2T olive oil

In a 4C measuring cup, gently stir yeast and sugar into the warm water and allow to stand for 10 minutes. If you don't see a yeasty foam develop within 5 minutes, you probably need to purchase new yeast before trying to bake bread. In the bowl of your stand mixer (I have never kneaded bread by hand and don't see the point), sift flours and salt together and make a well in the center. Using your dough hook, mix liquid ingredients (yeast mixture, syrup and olive oil) into the flour mixture. Knead for 5 minutes (10 minutes by hand if you enjoy self-torture!). Add a drop of water or a dash of flour to get a gorgeous, soft dough. Place the dough in a lightly oiled bowl and cover with plastic wrap. Allow to stand in a warm, draft-free spot for at least 2.5 hours (mine stood for 6). Punch down dough, re-cover and allow to stand for another 2 hours. At this point, punch down dough and cut in half and form into two round balls. Let the balls rest, covered for about 10 minutes. Shape into loaves and place into prepared pans - I used Pampered Chef's Classic Batter Bowls. Bake for 10 minutes in a 425F oven then reduce heat to 325F and bake for another 45 minutes or until the loaves turn a lovely golden brown. Turn the loaves out onto a wire rack and cool slightly before slicing. Enjoy!

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