This bread is a cross between Ciabatta and rustic French Boule. It is very good right out of the oven or for breakfast the next day, toasted, topped with almond butter and blackberry jam. Yum!!!
If you have not worked with yeast don’t be afraid it’s not that difficult. Make sure you use yeast that has not expired and lukewarm water. The water needs to be between 100° and 115°. To cold and the yeast will not activate, to hot and it will kill the yeast.
This goes great with my Beef Daube Cajun Style.
1 1/2 cup lukewarm water 105°F is best
1 1/2 tsp. salt
1 tsp. sugar
1 1/2 tsp. fast acting yeast
3 1/4 cup bread flour. I like King Arthur
1 tbsp. olive oil
Combine all of the ingredients except the olive oil in the mixing bowl. Mix on low-speed using the dough hook, scraping the dough down occasionally, for 10 minutes. Add olive oil and mix for an additional 5 minutes. Dough will be sticky but do not add flour.
Transfer dough to floured cutting board, cover with a large bowl or greased plastic wrap, and let rest for 15 minutes.
Lightly flour baking sheets or line them with parchment paper. Using a serrated knife, divide dough into 2 pieces, and form each into an oval. Place loaves on prepared sheets and dust lightly with flour. Cover, and let rise in a draft-free place for approximately 45 minutes.
As loaves rest preheat oven to 425°F
I use two stoneware pie plates to cook the bread in. If you do not have these just use the baking sheets. If using stoneware place them in the oven to preheat 10 minutes before the 45 minute rest time for dough has ended
After 45 minutes place loaves with parchment paper on stoneware and place in oven, positioned on the middle rack. Mist the bread with water every 3 min for the first 10 min.
Why? This does 3 things. Prevents the crust from forming too fast thus restricting the rising process. It moistens the crust just enough so it doesn’t brown/burn at the end of the baking period – you get a golden brown instead of a dark heavy crust. And it finally makes the crust crispier. This is a very important step. It also helps if you have a bowl of water in the oven to increase the humidity percentage.
Bake for 25-30 minutes until browned. Remove from oven and let cool for 15 minutes before eating.