|Sourdough French Loaf|
If I lived in France I believe my recipe would not qualify as a baguette in that I use a small amount of honey. It is not enough for you to taste the sweetness but it seems to help make it a bit fluffier.
As with most of my sourdough recipes this takes both evening and morning time as well as an established sour dough starter. If your starter is in the refrigerator you should get it out at least 2 days early and get it fed so it is rolling.
Difficulty: easy to moderate
Time: 15 minutes the night before, 2.5 hours in the morning
1/2 cup of sourdough stater
2 cups flour
1 cup water
1.5 teaspoons salt
1 teaspoon honey
1 teaspoon yeast
corn meal, roughly 1/4 cup
In a bowl combine 1 cup of flour with 1/2 cup of sourdough starter, 1/2 cup of water and 1 teaspoon of honey. This dough should be mixable with a spoon and pretty sticky. Add water if necessary. The bowl needs to be at least 2.5 times larger than the resultant ball of dough. Place a towel on top and leave in a warm place over-night (75 degrees is ideal, I use a heating pad on low in the winter). Ideally you will let this sit for 18 hours before you work on the next step. If you only have 12 hours that will work too the dough will be a bit less sour and will still be delicious.
In the morning kneed in the remaining 1 cup of flour, 1.5 teaspoons of salt and 1/2 cup of flour. You are looking for a very moist dough, just on the edge of sticking to your fingers as you kneed it. Don't be afraid to drizzle more water on as you kneed the dough. In a clean bowl that has been sprayed with cooking spray place this dough and leave in a warm location for an hour. The dough will rise to at least double it's original size.
After an our turn out the dough onto a clean surface and shape into a long loaf shape. Sprinkle corn meal onto counter where the loaf can be allowed to rise again and leave loaf there for another hour.
After 45 minutes of the second hour, place clay oven (with lid on top) into your oven and preheat to 450 degrees. At one hour (or longer if you need your loaf to rise more) remove the clay oven from your oven and carefully transfer the loaf into the clay oven. Please be careful as the clay oven is extremely hot.
Bake for 30 minutes with the top on. Once 30 minute has elapsed, reduce heat to 350 degrees and remove the top to allow the top of the loaf to brown.
That's it! This bread is simply delightful with a crisp crust and soft steamy center that instantly melts the butter.