I baked bread again from the batch of bread dough I mixed up about a week ago according to the directions in Artisan Bread In Five Minutes a Day. It is so easy, if you haven't tried it, you really should.
Here is a picture of the food grade plastic bucket I keep the dough in. It just sits in the fridge, doin' its thing, until I'm ready to bake.
You can see that I just tore about half of it off, and the rest is going back into the fridge for another day.
Here is a close-up of the dough resting. You can see it is on a cookie sheet -- not a baking tray with an edge on it, because I will be sliding it directly into the oven from here (I do not have a pizza peel which is used for this by people who are really serious about bread baking).
Underneath you may also notice that I have used a generous amount of cornmeal to keep it from sticking. It sits out for 20 minutes, then I preheat the oven to 450* and I set the timer for another 20 minutes - then I dust the top with a little flour and cut some little slits in the top. Then it goes into the oven.
Here is a really crummy picture of the bread while it is baking. The purpose of this ugly photo is to show that the bread is baking directly on a pizza stone which was preheated, and that below is a broiler pan with water in it, to create steam inside the oven. This really helps the bread have the moisture on the crust it needs during that last little rise, called "oven spring." (Don't worry, your crust will still be crisp when you are done baking.)
Here is the final loaf after 50 minutes in the oven. While I took this picture, the crust was crackling beautifully (like the sound of Rice Crispies with milk on them - but so much more satisfying when it comes from a loaf of fresh baked bread).
Friday, January 16, 2009