05 November 2009

Hearth bread

I've heard over and over that you can tell an authentic barbecue joint based on what they serve with the brisket. If they serve a piece of crappy white wonder bread, that's authentic.

Well, I'm not really big into being "authentic". I'm much more interested in dinner being good. So when I serve brisket, I almost always bake fresh bread. Hanging around the house tending a fire for brisket gives plenty of time to start a loaf of bread and let it rise.

Here's a hearth bread, from my favourite bread book, The Bread Bible. Start with a dough starter:
1 cup bread flour
¼ cup whole wheat flour
½ tsp yeast
1 ¼ tsp honey
1 1⁄3 cup water
Whisk in a large bowl until you get a nice smooth batter.


Separately mix:
1 ¾ cup + 2 tbsp bread flour
½ tsp yeast
Pour on top of the batter. Cover and let ferment in a warm place a few hours. You'll start to see cracks in the dry ingredients where the rising batter starts to poke through.

Mix (in my case in a KitchenAid mixer) with a dough hook until all the ingredients are wet.

Kneading the dough

Sprinkle in:
1 ½ tsp salt
And mix with the dough hook for another 7 minutes, until the dough is smooth, spongy and just a tiny bit sticky.

Kneading the dough

Dump the dough into a bowl that's been lightly oiled with olive oil. Cover and let the dough rise in a warm place for a couple hours.

Dough rising

Toss the dough on a floured surface and in as few motions as possible, fold it into a bread loaf shape. Cover and let rise again.

Dough rising

Cut a few diagonal slashes into the top of the bread.


Meanwhile, heat your oven (or your grill) with a pizza stone in it, and a cookie sheet or small metal pan. We want it crazy hot - like 475°F. Let the bread rise one more time for half an hour.

Cut dough

Put the loaf on the pizza stone, and toss a half a cup of ice into the hot pan. Close up the grill/oven. If it's a grill, let the fire die down a bit, to let the temperature drop towards 425°F. If you're in an oven, leave the temperature at 475°F for 10 minutes, then drop the temperature to 425°F and bake for 20 more minutes. Bread is done when it looks like this.

Fresh hearth bread

Serve with brisket. Yum.

1 comment:

ArmadilloPepper.com said...

I totally agree with your comment.....I will take "tastes great" over "authentic" anytime. Thanks for the recipe.

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