Things were going well, perhaps too well.   My decision of not buying a single cookbook during the year of 2012 had me strong and confident until April 19th. The date is a personal record, as in the past 5 years I caved before sunset on the last day of February.   But, reading this passionate review by Farine set the stage for my demise.   How could I possibly resist a book called “How to Make Bread?”    I succumbed. I got it.  And, you know what?  I LOVE IT!

(from “How to Make Bread“, published with permission from Emmanuel Hadjiandreou)

400 g (3 + 1/2 cups) bread flour
10 g (2 tsp) salt
2 + 1/2 Tbsp chopped rosemary leaves
6 g (1 + 1/4 tsp) nigella seeds
40 g (2 Tbsp) tomato paste
200 g (3/4 cup) warm water
300 g (1 + 1/2 cups) sourdough starter (100% hydration)
2 tsp olive oil

Add into one bowl the flour, salt, seeds, and rosemary. This is your dry mixture.

In another, larger bowl, mix the tomato paste, water, sourdough starter, and olive oil. This is  your wet mixture.

Add the dry mixture to the wet mixture and mix until it all comes together. Cover with a plastic wrap and let it stand for 10 minutes.  After 10 minutes, knead the dough in the bowl, by pulling one portion of the dough from the side and pressing it down in the middle.  Repeat it turning the bowl slightly at each kneading, doing this kneading motion about 8 times and covering the full circumference of the ball of dough. The whole process should take about 20 seconds.   Cover the dough again and leave it resting for 10 minutes.

Repeat this kneading cycle three more times, 10 minutes apart.  Cover the bowl and let it rest for one hour.

Turn the dough onto a floured surface, and shape it either as a round ball, or an oblong format, place it in a suitable container for the final rise.  Let the dough rise until doubled in size, which should take from 3 to 6 hours, depending on how active your starter was.

Heat the oven to 475 F, and have your method to generate steam ready.   Slide the bread on a parchment paper or a wooden peel, slash it, and place it in the oven.  I like to bake it over tiles, and place an inverted roasting pan moist with hot water over it for about 30 minutes, then remove it.   Once the bread is in the oven, reduce the temperature to 425 F.  Bake for a total of 40 minutes, or until the internal temperature is over 200F.

Let the bread cool completely on a rack before slicing.


to print the recipe, click here

About the book:  if you are into bread baking and think you’ve got enough books on the subject, think again.  You need this one.  Your library won’t be complete without it, no matter what is your skill level.  Emmanuel is a natural teacher, and the step by step photos arranged in a single page will give you a very clear idea of how to handle the dough at the different stages of fermentation and shaping.

One of the things I love the most about the book is how it makes me want to design my own recipes, using his basic method.  He simplifies the instructions by describing each recipe as “this is your dry mixture”“this is your wet mixture”“mix one with the other”.  Basically, that is what bread baking is all about, and you can customize and be creative  if you keep this basic formula in mind follow his minimalist approach to kneading.  Plus, he will expand your horizon on ingredients to add to a bread.  A few examples are his beetroot sourdough, fig, walnut and anise sourdough,  chocolate and currant sourdough…   Emmanuel’s book made me want to experiment, and that is the mark of a great cookbook.  It shows you a path without restricting you to it.

You can tell that a lot of dedication and attention to detail went into the making of this book.  From photos to text, a real masterpiece!

Emmanuel, thank you for giving me permission to feature your recipe in my blog…

I am submitting this post to Susan’s Yeastspotting

ONE YEAR AGO: A Focaccia Experiment

TWO YEARS AGO: Pierre Nury’s Bougnat

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