Artisanal Wheat Bread
Cape Town’s expert artisanal breadmaker, Paul Cremer from the Woodstock Bakery shares this recipe for making your own artisanal bread at home.
- Difficulty: moderate
- Prep Time : 0 mins |
- Cook Time : 6:0 hours
350 g bread flour
1 C (250 ml) water
5 g fresh yeast
7 g salt
Sift the flour into a mixing bowl.
Make a well in the centre of the flour to contain the water.
Dissolve the yeast in 100 mls room-temperature water.
Separately, dissolve the salt in 100 mls room-temperature water.
Add the remaining 50 ml water into the well.
Using your hands, start to mix from the centre. When a dough starts to form, add the yeasted water and continue to mix.
Finally, add the salted water to the mix and incorporate the remaining flour. This should form a shaggy, messy dough.
Sprinkle some flour onto a work surface. Empty the bowl onto the surface, and form a round, loose ball. Place the ball of dough into an oiled bowl, large enough for the dough to double in size, and cover with cling film. Allow to sit (ferment) for 45 minutes.
Empty the dough onto a floured surface and flatten out with your hands. Pull the outer edges of the dough, folding each edge into the centre, like an envelope. This gives the dough tenacity.
Place the dough back into the re-oiled bowl and allow to rest for 45 minutes.
Repeat this process three times. (A total of three 45-minute rests, followed by three folds.)
After the third fold, allow to rest for a further 45 minutes. Then the dough is ready for shaping.
For a round, free-form bread, empty the bowl onto the floured surface and fold as per the fermenting and folding process and place, seam-down, onto a piece of baking paper.
For a tin loaf, oil a 10 X 20cm baking tin. Empty the bowl onto the floured surface, fold in half, bottom-to-top, then fold the sides into the centre and roll into a cylinder. Place, seam-down, into the tin. Allow to rest for 45 minutes.
Place a baking stone or a heavy sheet pan into the oven and preheat oven to 240 °C, after you have shaped the loaf. Also place the cast iron pan at the bottom of the oven.
Just before baking, score the loaf. Slide the round loaf with the paper onto the baking stone or sheet pan. For the tin loaf, place in the centre of the oven. Once the bread is in the oven, quickly add four blocks of ice into the cast iron pan. This creates steam, which allows the bread to rise more easily.
Open and close the door quickly, allowing as little heat to escape as possible.
Bake at 240 °C for 10 minutes, or until the loaf starts to show colour. Reduce the oven temperature to 180°C, and bake for a further 15 to 20 minutes. Don›t be afraid to bake a dark loaf – different colours give you different depths of flavour.
If the loaf starts to become too dark, open the oven door for a few seconds to release some heat.
To check if the loaf is done, tap the underside of it – it should sound hollow.
Allow loaf to cool before cutting.
Your loaf will be ready in 5 – 6 hours, although the process of making the bread is not labour-intensive.
The bread will remain fresh for up to 3 days, but can be frozen for longevity.