14 January 2010


Look at that picture. That's what I've been trying to achieve since I started baking bread for real, and it's all thanks to Pete Reinhart (and my parents, who got me his book). Yay! A condensed version of the recipe follows:


22 oz unbleached bread flour (about 4.5 cups)
1 3/4 tsp salt or 2 1/2 tsp coarse kosher salt
1 1/4 tsp instant yeast
2 cups chilled water
1 tbsp olive oil

Combine all ingredients apart from the oil in a stand mixer bowl and run the paddle attachment for 1 minute (alternatively, in a bowl with a large spoon for one minute). Let rest 5 minutes. Add the oil, mix on medium low speed (or by hand - wet your hands first) for 1 minute. Thinly coat a bowl with oil. With wet bowl scraper or wet hands, transfer dough to the bowl. Cover with plastic wrap, rest 10 minutes.

Now stretch and fold four times: oil the work surface. Using wet hands, transfer dough to work surface. Reach under the front end of the dough and stretch it out, then fold it back onto the top of the dough. Repeat with the back, then the sides. The dough should be much firmer now. Flip over and tuck into a ball, then put back in bowl and cover.

After the fourth stretch and fold, cover the bowl tightly and place in the fridge overnight or up to 4 days.

3 hours before you're going to bake, take the bowl out into room temperature. Leave for an hour. Place parchment paper on the back of a sheet pan and dust with flour. Dust the work surface with flour. Once the dough has been out an hour, transfer it to the work surface, being careful not to deflate it too much. Dust the top of the dough with flour, then, with floured hands, coax and pat the dough into a rough square. Cut the dough in half. Gently fold each part into thirds (like folding a letter but without applying pressure). Rest, seam side down, on the parchment paper while doing the second part. Spray oil on the top, then cover loosely with plastic wrap or a clean towel for one hour.

After an hour, with floured hands, lift and cradle each piece and, working form the underside, gently coax it to a length of 7 inches. Lay the pieces back on the parchment paper, seam side up. Spray oil, cover and leave another hour.

When there's 45 minutes left until baking, turn the oven to 550 degrees F (or as high as it will go), with your baking stone and a steam pan in there (steam pan at the bottom, baking stone in the middle). If you don't have a baking stone, you can use the actual sheet pan the dough is on right now. The steam pan could be, for example, a cast iron pan (although you wouldn't want to mess with one that is properly seasoned already).

Once the 45 minutes are up, lower the temperature to 450, put the dough (parchment paper and all) on the baking stone (both loaves) and pour 1 cup of hot water into the sheet pan.

Bake for 12 minutes, then turn and bake another 15-20 minutes, until rich brown crust and bread sounds hollow when tapped on the bottom. The crust will be hard, but soften when cooling. Let cool on wire rack for at least 45 minutes before slicing. Try not to eat the whole thing in one sitting (difficult).


  1. Damn, that's the kind of bread i try to bake but never get it quite right. I have to try this.

  2. It is fairly simple and the result is pretty awesome :)

  3. Alltså, hur i herrans namn kan du baka sånt här bröd, var har du lärt dig. Jag har aldrig lyckats men skulle verkligen vilja. Måste prova ditt recept NU.

  4. I'm a lover of bread. I especially love dipping it. In eggs, coffee, oil, butter. I've never made it though.