Friday, 16 May 2014

Spelt no-knead "twisted" bread

Spelt no-knead "twisted" bread

Some preliminary remarks, listed in a not relevant order.
1) We always have bread on the table, when having lunch or dinner.
This is a peculiar Italian habit and, at least with regard to bread, my small family does not differ from the average Italian family and therefore needs bread at any meal.
2) We want good bread.
And good means that it is not chewy like gum, or so dense and humid and heavy like fresh cement, or even flacky, but that it smells of flour and yeast, has a golden crust and an airy texture, and above all is pleasant in the mouth. It doesn't go without saying that shop brought bread is really good.
3) I do not posses a stand mixer (even if it is in my wish list and hopefully will arrive soon)
And I have skinny and weak arms, but I am not disposed to reinforce them now in order to make heavy dough.
4) I am developing a passion for baking, both savory and sweet things.
It is easy now to understand that I am very much interested in testing all types of bread which do not require to be kneaded. For sure kneaded dough produces a bread with a different texture and flavor (as soon as I get the machine I will try), but this recipes, that I found in a nice Italian blog and slightly adapted, produces a soft and tasty breads. And the final bread is also nice to see for the twisted shape of the loaf.
Since it requires a short rising time and no kneading, I make it as a last time bread, when I don't have any dough rising in the fridge (I will write about another easy and good no-knead bread which instead necessitates a long rising time).  The only handling requested to strengthen the dough is a sort of twisting that also gives to the loaf its peculiar shape. This operation is not easy, in particular the first time you make it, since the dough is very wet; but no worry, the bread will be tasty even if the final shape is not perfect and beautiful. If you try you will make it again and at any time your twisting ability will improve.

Spelt no-knead "twisted" bread

Spelt no-knead "twisted" bread
adapted from here 
yelds 1 loaf
125 g whole grain spelt flour
125 g all purpose flour
3,5 g dry yeast
250 ml  water (lukewarm)
1 tsp salt
1 tsp sugar 

In a mixing bowl mix the flour, sugar, salt and yeast; make a hole in the middle of the mixture, like a crater, pour in the water and mix with a fork until the mixture is amalgamated (the consistency of the dough will be like heavy mud). Spread two heaped tablespoon over the surface, cover the bowl with a clean towel and let the dough rise at room temperature for 1 1/2 to 2 hours.  The rising id proceeding well if, after 30 minutes, the surface starts cracking.
After 2 two hours preheat the oven to 240°C (static mode) and bring to boil water in a small oven-safe saucepan.
While the oven reaches the temperature, line a baking sheet with parchment paper and spread oven some flour. Transfer the dough into the baking sheet and add some flour on the upper side; then, with floured hands and with the help of a dough scraper, twist the dough a couple of time at each end. This operation is not easy, at least the first time you make it, because the dough is very soft and sticky; I find it very helpful to use a floured dough scraper, adding flour also helps, but remember that this bread is good because it is soft and too much flour reduces this characteristic.
When the oven reaches the set temperature, reduce it to 200° C and put into the oven both the baking sheet and the pan with boiling water (I put it on the bottom). Bake for about 20 minutes, until the surface is golden. To check if the bread is cooked through, beat with the back of a spoon the bread surface: if it sounds as if it was “empty”, the bread is ready.
Transfer to a wire-rack and let it cool before slicing.

·      I used a part of whole grain spelt flour because I love the taste and flavor of this grain both in breads and in sweet bakes. It is possible to use only white flour or different mixes of flours (I made several trials and, if using whole grain flours, I recommend to add always a part of white flour otherwise the dough remains too humid).
·      It is also possible to add flavors to the dough (for example dried herbs or spices) or even some stuffing (like olives, onion, bacon, ...) or a combination of them  depending on your fantasy. Some suggestions: dried tomatoes, grated parmigiano  and oregano; onion and diced fried bacon or pancetta; black and green olives, pitted

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