This recipe comes from Maria Speck’s book Ancient Grains for Modern Meals; it is a bread that rises in a pot filled with water. I read this and flashback-ed to my two goldfish whom (as a kid) I used to dump in the bathtub while I cleaned their tank; found out much later that it was just not done, but they survived the weekly voyage to the tub. Well, so does this bread.
I was skeptical: Come on, Maria! Well, I apologize, this bread did everything she said it would do; it did rise in the water, it did bake to a nice crust with minimum effort. I asked my daughter to corroborate and she did agree that it took me about 3 minutes of work.
- 2 1/2 cups of unbleached flour (10 3/4 ounces) (the recipe calls for whole-wheat, I used 2 cups white and 1/2 cup whole-wheat)
- 5 Tablespoons toasted sesame seeds
- 2 teaspoons instant yeast
- 1 teaspoon sugar
- 1 teaspoon sea salt
- 1 1/4 cup lukewarm water (90 to 100F); less if using white flour like I did
- Cornmeal for sprinkling
- Fill a large pot with water to within an inch of the rim.
- Place the flour, yeast, sugar, salt and sesame seeds in a bowl. Mix well to combine and form a well in the middle. Pour the water gradually stirring or mixing (if using a mixer) until a sticky and wet dough forms.
- Remove the dough to a work area, sprinkle with flour a bit on all sides, form a ball and drop into the pot filled with water.
- Preheat the oven to 425F and place a cast-iron skillet or a baking stone or sheet in the oven to warm up. Use the lower third of the oven. Grab a piece of parchment paper and sprinkle with cornmeal.
- Wait about 20 minutes (or longer) and when the ball of dough has risen, grab it gently and place it on a floured counter. Sprinkle with no more than 5 tablespoons of flour and when a nice ball is formed (not too wet but not dry either), place on a parchment paper sprinkled with cornmeal. Place a towel on the dough and let it sit for 20 minutes. Brush the dough with water and sprinkle with more sesame seeds. Score the dough with a knife, forming three lines, about 1/4 inch deep.
- Place the dough in the oven with the paper; bake for 25 minutes until the dough is golden-brown and the crust is stiff and the bread sounds hollow when tapped. Remove from the oven and cool for a couple of hours. Slice and enjoy.
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