I am sooo excited to share with you this new, my new favorite bread recipe...with only 4 ingredients and no hard work involved you're going to like it. And the taste is A-MA-ZING it tastes like the best bread coming from a nice french bakery. There is only one catch, aahhh nothing major really, you will have to allow yourself 2 days. Most of the work is done by your fridge which provides a cold, slow fermentation overnight to give the bread optimum flavour. And flavorfull it is.
Combine all the dry ingredients together, flour, salt and yeast.
Then slowly add the ice cold water. If you are using an electric mixer, use the dough hook and mix on medium speed for 5-6 minutes. If you are using your hands, keep a bowl of cold water nearby to wet your hands (this dough is sticky!).
When all the ingredients are incorporated, the dough should be slightly sticky to the bottom of the bowl but clear the sides. If not, add extra flour or water as needed. When ready, the dough will look like this:
Oil a very large bowl and transfer the dough to the oiled bowl using wet hands. No Kneading Necessary! Cover and refrigerate overnight.
Remove the dough from the fridge and leave it on the counter to come to approximately room temperature before you begin baking.You want the dough to be double in size from the day before, which usually takes more than 8 hours in the fridge. I made the dough around 3pm on monday and put it in the fridge and took it out on tuesday around 1pm.
When you are ready to work with the dough, preheat the oven to 500*F. Also place an empty loaf pan in the oven which will be used as a steam tray.
Sprinkle the counter very, very liberally with flour (remember this dough is sticky!) and transfer the dough onto the counter carefully, trying your best not to release the air pockets that have formed. Sprinkle the top of the dough liberally with flour as well.
Stretch the dough into a large 8”x8” square. Using a bench scraper cut the dough in half and then cut each half into 4 pieces.
Take 2 baking sheets and flip them upside down. Sprinkle them liberally with semolina or cornmeal. Transfer each mini loaf to the baking sheet, lightly stretching the dough to the width of the baking sheet as you do so. Score the loaves with a sharp razor or serrated knife
Once the loaves are in the oven, pour 1 cup of water into the steam pan. Pour a little bit of water on the oven door as well, then shut the oven door immediately. Wait 30 seconds. Pour a little more water on the oven door and then shut the door immediately once again. (Doing this helps the crust to crisp up slightly)
Turn the oven temperature down to 475*F. Bake for 10 minutes, the rotate the loaves 180 degrees and bake for another 10 minutes until the loaves are golden brown.
Transfer the loaves to a cooling rack for about 20 minutes before indulging. With a slightly crisp crust and a soft chewy crumb, these loaves are amazing for sandwiches and even better with just a little bit of butter. Enjoy!
Pain a L’Ancienne
Recipe from Peter Reinhart’s Bread Baker’s Apprentice
Makes 8 mini loaves
27 oz (6 c) Bread Flour (or all purpose if you don’t have bread flour)
2 ¼ tsp salt
1 ¾ tsp instant yeast
19-24 oz ice cold water
Semolina or cornmeal for dusting