Thursday, February 25, 2010

Crusty Garlic-Tuscan Herb Loaf

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Source: (never home)maker



Crusty Garlic-Tuscan Herb Loaf

3 cups unbleached white bread flour (I used King Arthur)
2 teaspoons coarse kosher salt
1 teaspoon garlic powder
1/2 teaspoon instant or other active dry yeast
1 cup cool (55 to 65 degrees) water
1/3 cup olive oil or herb variety
Cornmeal or additional flour for dusting


In a medium bowl, stir together the flours, salt, garlic powder, and yeast. Make an impression in the middle of the dry ingredients, almost like a little bowl.

Pour the water and olive oil into the impression you just made. Using a wooden spoon or your hands, mix until you have a wet, sticky dough, adding a bit more water if necessary.

Cover the bowl with lightly oiled plastic wrap and let it sit at room temperature until the surface is dotted with bubbles and the dough is more than doubled in size, 18 to 24 hours.

When the first rise is complete, generously dust a work surface with flour. Use a bowl scraper or rubber spatula to scrape the dough out of the bowl in one piece.

Using lightly floured hands or a bowl scraper or spatula, lift the edges of the dough in toward the center. Tuck the edges of the dough under to make it round.

Dust a cookie sheet with cornmeal. Gently place the dough on the cookie sheet, seam side down.

Dust the top lightly with cornmeal. Place another lightly oiled piece of plastic wrap over the loaf-in-progress. Then let rest in a warm, draft-free spot for just about 2 hours.

Position one of your oven racks so that your dutch oven will be centered in the oven, and preheat it to 475 degrees F.

Place a covered 4-1/2 to 5-1/2 quart cast-iron dutch oven in the center of the rack. Let fully preheat.

Carefully remove the preheated pot from the oven and uncover it. Gently invert the dough into the pot, seam side up. Cover the pot and bake for 30 minutes.

Remove the lid and continue baking until the loaf is a deep chestnut color -- but not burned -- 15 to 30 minutes. Use a heatproof spatula to carefully lift the loaf out of the pot and place it on a rack to cool thoroughly before slicing.