Bake Bread like a Pro

BAKE bread at home like a pro! #stayinghome is the perfect time to master the art of baking bread, and we’ve got some great new TIPS from our social media friend and Bread making expert Julia of @breadandbasil on making your own SOURDOUGH STARTER and it isn’t as difficult as you may think!

Be sure to follow Julia @breadandbasil

We’ve linked Julia’s ‘Everything You Need to Know About Sourdough Starter’ here 

This comprehensive guide will teach you how to create and maintain a healthy sourdough starter, with tips, descriptions, and videos helpful for any baker.

With just flour, water, and time, you will be well on your way to baking naturally leavened bread with your very own sourdough starter.

Some tips we have learned while making bread at home – proofing baskets are used to help the loaves keep their shape and structure through their final rise.

When using a proofing basket first prepare the basket by coating it throughly with flour and shaking out the excess.

Make your bread right through the shaping step. Instead of proofing it on the counter top, dust the surface of the shaped loaf with flour and invert it into the proofing basket so that the ‘top’ of the dough is on the bottom of the basket and the underside is visible.

The gluten relaxes as the dough proofs, causing shaped loaves to spread out and flatten as they rise. A basket supports the dough as it proofs and prevents this from happening.

Carrie’s Go-To no knead Bread Recipe

One of the most popular recipes The Times has ever published, courtesy of Jim Lahey, owner of Sullivan Street Bakery. It requires no kneading and it takes very little effort — only time. You will need 24 hours to create the bread, but much of this is unattended waiting, a slow fermentation of the dough that results in a perfect loaf.

INGREDIENTS

  • 3 cups all-purpose or bread flour, more for dusting
  • ¼ teaspoon instant yeast
  • 1 ¼ teaspoons salt
  • Cornmeal or wheat bran as needed

PREPARATION

  1. In a large bowl combine flour, yeast and salt. Add 1 5/8 cups water, and stir until blended; dough will be shaggy and sticky. Cover bowl with plastic wrap. Let dough rest at least 12 hours, preferably about 18, at warm room temperature, about 70 degrees.
  2. Dough is ready when its surface is dotted with bubbles. Lightly flour a work surface and place dough on it; sprinkle it with a little more flour and fold it over on itself once or twice. cover loosely with plastic wrap and let rest about 15 minutes.
  3. Using just enough flour to keep dough from sticking to work surface or to your fingers, gently and quickly shape dough into a ball. Generously coat a proofing basket with flour, wheat bran or cornmeal; put dough top down in proofing basket and dust with more flour, bran or cornmeal. Cover with a cotton towel and let rise for about 2 hours. When it is ready, dough will be more than double in size and will not readily spring back when poked with a finger.
  4. At least a half-hour before dough is ready, heat oven to 450 degrees. Put a 6- to 8-quart cast iron French Oven/Cocotte in oven as it heats. When dough is ready, carefully remove pot from oven. Slide your hand under towel and turn dough over into pot, seam side up; it may look like a mess, but that is O.K. Shake pan once or twice if dough is unevenly distributed; it will straighten out as it bakes.  Cover with lid and bake 30 minutes, then remove lid and bake another 15 to 30 minutes, until loaf is beautifully browned. Cool on a rack.

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