1. Set out the package contents
Each package contains:
- Flour blend in a sealed plastic bag
- A folded, 5" X 12" parchment sheet
- A folded glassine paper baking bag
- A small bag of dusting flour.
Contents look like this:
You will also need one level cup - 8 oz/226 gr - of warm water (100 F - 115 F/35 - 40C).
2. Gather the tools
You will need:
- A large, sturdy bowl
- A stirring spoon or spatula
- A sharp knife
- A measuring cup
- Optional: a stand mixer with paddle blade
3. Mix the dough
Empty all the baking flour into the bowl.
Add the of water to the flour.
Stir until all the flour is wet.
Set dough aside for approximately 5 minutes. When you now stir, dough should be the consistency of commercial mayonnaise. If dough is stiff and difficult to stir, add 1 TBLS/25 ml water and stir again.This step may be repeated until the dough is the consistency described above. Beat dough vigorously for 50 strokes.
Although we recommend mixing by hand, you may use a stand mixer. If you do, stir first on low setting, let rest 1 minute,then beat on high for 1 minute.
4. Shape the dough
Unfold and flatten the parchment sheet.
Turn the dough out onto it.
Wet a spoon or spatula.
Use it to spread and shape the dough into a loaf shape.
Smooth the loaf well. The more you seal it, the better the crust will be.
5. Dust and slash
Sprinkle dusting flour on the loaf and pat into the surface with your fingers.
If your bread is Classic Sourdough, Bold Buckwheat Premium, or REALLY "Rye", use the sharp knife to slash the loaf.
The best type of slash is a lengthwise "Smile" about 3/4"/2 cm deep.
Slashing helps reduce tearing as the loaf expands in the oven.
We do not recommend slashing New Italian or Holiday Spice.
6. Bag and bake
Slide the loaf, on its sheet of parchment, into the baking bag.
Fold the opening of the baking bag closed, and press down on the crease to secure it.
If bag touches dough, no harm done. Paper may stick to the crust but it will not effect flavor.
If you have the time to let the loaf rise you will obtain better results.
To do this, place bagged loaves in a warm (90 - 100 F/32 - 37 C) place.
- Allow Classic Sourdough or Holiday Spice, to rise 30 minutes.
- Allow New Italian to rise 60 minutes.
- Bold Buckwheat Premium will not rise - it rises only in the oven. However you can let a loaf of Bold Buckwheat Premium "Proof" for up to 18 hours at room temperature (48 hours in a refrigerator), which will enhance the flavor.
DO NOT allow REALLY "Rye" to rise.
Position a rack in the middle slot of your oven. Heat the oven to 400°F/206 C. DO NOT use a cookie sheet or baking stone!
ALWAYS USE OVEN MITTS OR POT HOLDERS WHEN HANDLING HOT EQUIPMENT AND BREAD
Open the oven door, pick up the bread in its bag, and place it directly on the rack.
Set the timer to 85 minutes.
At the end of the baking cycle, remove bread from oven, tear open the bag and discard it. CAUTION! HOT STEAM MAY ESCAPE!
The bread is done if it is nutty brown (see color chart below) and/or if it sounds hollow when gently tapped.
Put the bread on a rack or screen so that no moisture is trapped underneath, and allow to cool thoroughly.
Is it done?
The photograph below illustrates the crust colors of our standard breads, New Italian and Classic Sourdough, when properly baked.
New Italian is the color of raw almonds. Classic Sourdough is the color of inner walnut meat. Bold Buckwheat Premium and REALLY "Rye" should be as dark as New Italian. Holiday Spice should be the darkest: approximately the color of molasses.
Allow bread to sit at least 2 hours to cool and stabilize. Unstabilized bread is great-tasting and totally edible, but the interior will be more moist, and the crust less crispy, than optimal.
You can leave an uncut loaf on a counter, uncovered, for up to 48 hours.
After slicing, turn the cut side down and set on a smooth surface, like a cutting board. Bread will stay fresh another 48 hours.
We do not recommend storage in plastic except for freezing.
If you will not eat a loaf within three days of baking, freeze the bread after sealing tightly in a plastic bag.
No bread should ever be refrigerated.