Cold winter wind. Hazy skies. Rain in the forecast.
The scent of freshly baked bread filling the kitchen. Comfort.
Ruth Reichl has a lovely, mellifluous writing style that calms your mind after a long day and whisks you right into the arms of a cozy kitchen. What is more relaxing, more exhilarating than bread rising in the oven, surrounding you with warmth, hugging you with carbs!
Although this is a very simple recipe, be prepared to invest a couple days worth of wait time to create the perfect sourdourgh taste. In Ruth’s words, “the addition of time gives the bread considerably more character,” and demands no more than a couple of minutes at a time to punch down the dough in preparation for its next rise.
- 1/4 cup + 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 1/32 teaspoon active dry yeast
- 2½ tablespoons cold water
- Cornmeal, for dusting
- 1 teaspoon Extra Virgin Olive Oil, for the warm mini cocotte
- Mix all ingredients in a small mixing bowl until well combined. Cover with a plate and set aside in a warm, dry place to rise for at least 18 hours until doubled size.
- The next morning, uncover and punch down the dough stirring until the dough forms a ball and begins to pull away from the sides of the bowl. Recover and set aside in a warm, dry place to rise for at least 8 hours. Repeat this process two more times. In Ruth's words, "more is better!"
- At the end of the third day, nudge the dough onto a gently floured work surface, quickly shaping it into a ball. Dust with cornmeal, wrap in a kitchen towel and set aside to rise for 1 hour until doubled size.
- Place a mini enameled cast iron cocotte along with the lid into a cold oven. Preheat the oven to 475° (make sure your oven is very clean or it will start smoking on you!). Score the bread as desired.
- When the oven beeps at 475°, carefully remove the hot mini enameled cast iron cocotte seasoning with the Extra Virgin Olive Oil. Score the bread as desired and place it in the hot pan. Cover the cocotte, returning it to the oven. Bake for 5 minutes covered and then 10 minutes, or so, uncovered until a rich golden brown in color and the loaf sounds hollow when tapped. Serve with cold sweet cream butter for a warming treat on a chilly autumn day.