Perfect Artisan Bread

Makes 1-2 loaves, ciabatta, baguettes, dinner rolls

Poolish – First day

500 gr Sunrise Heritage White Flour or Red Fife Heritage Sifted Flour

1 tsp dry active yeast

360 gr water, non-chlorinated

Add water and mix until a wet dough has formed. It will be sticky but showing signs of forming a wet bread dough.

Refrigerate overnight

Second Day

Remove from refrigerator and allow to warm for about an hour.

Add:

500 gr Sunrise Heritage White Flour or Red Fife Heritage Sifted Flour

1 tbsp Real (brand) salt or sea salt

312 gr water, non-chlorinated

Mix and knead by hand until the dough is wet and has thoroughly combined all the ingredients.

Let proof about 2 hours in a covered container.

Scoop dough out onto a floured flat surface

Next is the critical part that is quite easy with practice.  The dough needs to be maintained as wet as possible.  Sprinkle some flour on the outside of the dough so it can be worked. Add as little flour as possible to the inside of the dough ball as you work it. Lift the dough ball a little with a dough tool and sprinkle some flour under it.

Think of the ball as a clock.  Grab a quarter of the dough at the 3:00 position.  Stretch it upward as far as it will go without tearing. Lift and push this stretched dough to the middle of the ball.  Repeat at the 6:00, 9:00, and 12:00 sides of the ball.

Return cover and proof for 1 hour.

Repeat stretching.  Start oven at 475 deg.

In 30 minutes or less the ball should come back together. It now can be divided and formed into the desired shape.  Take care so the air bubbles that have been created are not pressed out.

The ideal baking method utilizes an 8-9″ cast iron Dutch oven.  A pizza stone may be used but is not necessary.  A regular bread pan or free-form loaves on a pizza stone are other baking methods.  Preheat the Dutch oven in the baking oven for at least 30-45 minutes.

Place half the dough in the ungreased Dutch oven, cover and bake 30 min.  Remove lid and bake another 10-15 min if you desire a browner crust.  All ovens are different so use a thermometer for an internal temp of 200 deg F.  The oven is hotter than for most baking and the handle of the Dutch oven will be very hot.