This is where we tell you bread baking is easy as yeast, water and flour, right? Not so fast. One of the first things every novice bread maker must remember is “rushing it is never a good idea,” says Adam Gidlow, owner of On the Rise Artisan Breads & Pastries in Cleveland Heights. “If you want to make good bread, it takes time. It’s about developing the flavor and getting the right level of fermentation.” And that’s true of any loaf from sourdough to levain, Danish rye to Italian. The other lessons this 20-year bread veteran shares: Be precise when you measure, start with a good quality flour such as King Arthur (not your basic all-purpose) and go easy on the yeast. “That stuff is potent,” says Gidlow, who adds a mere 10 grams of yeast to a 100-pound French baguette starter. “A little bit goes a long way.”
On the Rise Artisan Breads and Pastries’ Adam Gidlow shares a classic bread recipe:
To make the starter
320 grams artisan bread flour
340 grams water
3 grams baker’s yeast or 1 gram dry instant yeast
Mix until flour is well incorporated. Cover bowl with plastic wrap. Leave at room temperature until starter becomes bubbly, about three hours. Refrigerate overnight.
To make focaccia
565 grams starter (removed from fridge an hour before mixing)
340 grams artisan bread flour
14 grams salt
5 grams baker’s yeast or 1.5 grams dry instant yeast
85 grams olive oil
170 grams water
Using dough hook, mix all ingredients on slow speed for 3 minutes until combined. Increase speed, mixing for 3 to 5 minutes more until dough is smooth. It should pull away from sides of the bowl. Empty the bowl onto a floured countertop. Fold dough into rectangular thirds and rest for 10 minutes. Fold again, and rest for 30 minutes. Repeat and rest for 1 hour. Transfer dough to a 17-by-12-inch baking sheet coated with high quality olive oil. Using fingertips, gently form dough to the shape of the pan. Brush with olive oil. Loosely cover with plastic wrap and let rise for 2 hours at room temperature. Preheat oven to 475 degrees. Drizzle dough with olive oil and sprinkle with coarse sea salt and fresh herbs to taste. Dimple the top with fingertips, allowing oil and herbs to pool. Bake for 20 minutes (rotating 180 degrees halfway), until golden brown. Remove from oven and transfer focaccia onto a cooling rack. Cool for 20 minutes, then serve.