Wednesday, 14 November 2012
Lorraine Pascale's Pain D'Epi Bread Recipe
Okay I have to admit that when I find a recipe that makes a seemingly difficult and time consuming recipe look easy, then I'm hooked, this is one of these very recipes.
I am not an expert when it come to yeast bakery, in fact, I regard myself as somewhat as a learner. I think that anyone who helps me on that journey is to be praised! I know that Lorraine has her critics and that bread making should be a long drawn out process, but I'm not there yet, I'm still grappling with how to knead the dough or how warm the water should be, so for now this is our Pain D'Epi recipe and a regular guest at our table. Perhaps when I'm much more experience, I will share my findings, the recipes that are closer to the original (long drawn out) method and those important hints and tips! For now enjoy experimenting and learning how to bake with that (complex) ingredient, yeast.
Recipe complements of Lorraine Pascale's Home Cooking Made Easy
Yield 1 loaf
275g Strong white flour
2tsp Dried yeast
1tsp Sea salt, plus extra for the top
175ml Warm water
1tbsp Olive oil, plus extra for greasing
Put the flour, 1 teaspoon salt and yeast into a large bowl. Stirring with a wooden spoon, add enough water until the dough just comes together. Stir in the olive oil.
Flour your work surface and knead the dough until it is smooth and elastic, about 10 minutes. (Lorraine has a very distinct method of kneading bread, she rolls the dough away from herself with the heel of her right hand, draws is back, using the palm of her right hand. She then repeats this using her left hand leaving a distinctive V shape on the floured surface!)
Form the dough into a tight ball so the top is really nice and taut. Place it onto a floured baking sheet and form it into a long and thin baguette shape, thinner than usual as it will expand while it rises.
Cover the tray with lightly oiled cling film so it is airtight but not too tight so the dough has room to expand. Put in a warm place until the dough doubles in size, about 1 hour. I usually leave mine on a chair near the oven. Preheat the oven to 200ºC. Uncover the bread and sprinkle on some flour. Put the bread with the shortest edge facing you (or lengthwise) and, starting at the end furthest away from you, hold a pair of scissors so they are parallel to the bread, then tilt them so they are at a 45-degree angle. Make a large cut 10cm away from the top of the dough, almost as if you were going to snip that bit off but it will still be attached, then take that piece and move it to the left. Make another snip about 10cm down from the bottom of the last one and move that piece to the right. Keep on doing this until you reach the end of the bread.
Spray some water (I usually place 4-5 ice cubes into the oven) to create a steamy atmosphere. Put the dough into the oven. Bake until the bread is golden brown and sounds hollow when you tap it on the bottom, about 25 minutes.