Baking your own bread at home is way more gratifying than anything else, especially for a home baker like me, who generally tend towards baking more of cakes and other stuff. It is rarely that I bake bread. And it is not just science behind the baking of a bread, but the art that gets involved into how gentle you care about the rising dough. And it is more artistic in nature when it comes to baking rustic artisan breads. I love their irregular shapes and cuts. Their free form nature and the imperfectness is what makes them so special. And not just their body, the complex and deep flavors of a long rising dough makes them stand apart from your regular quick yeast breads. I have this wonderful book on fundamental of artisan bread and pizza making called Flour Water Salt Yeast, sitting on my bookshelf from a very long time now. It is amazing how the author and the recipe developer behind the book has devised ways to bake rustic breads and pizzas for a home baker. The passion and the honed craft of the author just reflects through the pages of this book. A dutch oven is what it needs to bake a bread which is crispy crusty on the outside and soft and supple on the inside. It helps retain the steam within the lidded dutch oven, which is really crucial for a lovely crust. There are multiple stages on baking this wonderful bread, which seem daunting at once. But if you plan well, and follow the instructions as mentioned, you shouldn’t worry about the lengthy process. The author has clearly mentioned timelines as well, as to how to plan your baking regime. I tried 75% wholewheat bread this time, with some black olives thrown in. I was really surprised when I opened the lid of the dutch oven, it had an amazing rustic crust which you’d find on the breads baked by an artisan bakery. The bite into a slice was really satisfying. I slathered it with a luscious feta dip and drizzled some chili garlic olive oil on top of it. It tasted heavenly, good enough to forget about the time that went into making this.
- 750 gm wholewheat flour
- 250 gm plain flour
- 800 gm water (32 degree C to 35 degree C)
- 22 gm salt
- 3 gm instant dried yeast
- 1 cup olives (pat dried, without any brine water)
- Mix both the flours by hand in a 5 liter capacity container. Add water and mix by hand until incorporated. Cover and let rest for 20 to 30 minutes.
- Sprinkle salt and yeast over top of dough. Mix by hand, wetting your hand before mixing, so the dough doesn't stick to you (it is ok to rewet your hand 3-4 times).
- Reach underneath and grab about one quarter of dough, gently stretch it and fold it over top of rest of the dough in container. Repeat this stretch and folding process 3 more times until salt and yeast are fully enclosed.
- Using your thumb and forefinger, make five or six cuts across the entire mass of dough and then fold the dough over itself a few times. Repeat this cutting, folding 3-4 more times until all the ingredients are fully integrated and the dough has some tension in it.
- Let the dough rest for a few minutes and then fold for another 30 seconds or until dough tightens up.
- Dough needs three folds, which need to be done during first 1 1/2 hours after mixing the dough, as described in above process.
- Add the olives to the dough and follow the steps to fold.
- For folding, dip your hand in some warm water to wet it, so that dough doesn't stick to you. Reach underneath the dough and pull about a quarter up to stretch it until you feel resistance, then fold it over top of rest of the dough. Repeat four five times, working around the dough, until it has tightened into a ball. Grab the entire ball and invert it so the seam side faces down.
- Let it rest covered for 30 minutes and repeat the folding process 2 more times, with a 30 minute gap between each folding process.
- Let cover and rest for about 5 hours, or until dough has tripled its original volume. It is now ready to be divided into loaves.
- Moderately flour a work surface. Flour your hands and sprinkle a bit of flour around the edges of the container having dough.
- Tip the container lightly and working your floured hands beneath the dough to loosen it from the bottom of container. Gently ease the dough out on the work surface without pulling it or tearing it.
- Cut the dough into two equal size pieces.
- Dust 2 kitchen towels with flour and place them inside two deep bowls, spreading them so as to cover the inner surface of the entire bowl. These are the proofing bowls.
- Take one piece of dough at a time and stretch and fold one quarter of dough over top of rest of the dough, repeating until you get a medium shaped ball, with a little tension in it. Then flip it over the work surface with seam side facing the surface. Place it inside the prepared proofing bowl with seam side facing down.
- Repeat the shaping process with the remaining piece of dough.
- Lightly flour the surface of the loaves. Cover with kitchen towels and let them rest for 1 1/4 hours, assuming the room temperature of about 21 degree C. Poke the rising loaves making an indentation about 1/2 inch deep, after the proofing time is over to test if the loaves have proofed perfectly. If the dough springs back slowly, the loaves have proofed perfectly. If the indentation spring back immediately, loaves need some more time to proof.
- At least 45 minutes prior to baking, put two dutch ovens on the middle rack of oven with their lids on. Preheat at 245 degree C.
- If you have one dutch oven, put the second loaf in fridge about 20 minutes before baking the first loaf. Bake loaves sequentially, giving the dutch oven a 5 minutes reheat after removing the first loaf.
- Invert the proofed loaf onto a work surface lightly floured, keeping in mind that the top of the loaf will be the side that was facing down while it was proofing - the seam side.
- Use oven mitts to remove the preheated dutch oven from the oven. Remove the lid and carefully place the loaf into the hot dutch oven seam side up. Use mitts to replace the lid and put the dutch oven in the oven.
- Bake for 30 minutes and then carefully remove the lid and bake for another 20 minutes, until at least medium dark brown all around the bread.
- Remove the dutch oven and carefully tilt it to turn the loaf out. Let cool on a rack for 20 minutes before slicing into the bread.
- Schedule: Begin at 9:30 am, finish mixing at 10 am, shape into loaves at 3 pm, and bake at 4:15 pm.
Another beautiful post, Himanshu! Why is your blog so good?! 🙂
I should dig a hole and hide myself in there… 🙂
Lilly Sue says
Oh wow, th
Lilly Sue says
Oh wow, this sounds and looks wonderful! I love olive bread- yum! (Sorry for the accidental comment before 🙂 )
thank you Lilly 🙂
Reminds me how long it has been that I have baked any breads. Beautiful looking bread. Great post
I too bake bread rarely. it took a while to bake a bread. 🙂
Hi, I was looking for something online and came across your blog. I fell in love with your photography sense and the clicks. Can you please tell me which camera and lense you use to take pics. Thank you in advance
This looks fantastic and I would like to try it very soon. Do you think the dutch oven bit is necessary? Any advice for those that might not have one? I might have access to a very thick dutch oven…