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Old 09-20-2017, 06:38 AM   #1
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The Perfect Loaf in Romertopf Clay Baker 111

Makes 1 Loaf

Ingredients:

1 cup warm water (105-115 degrees F)
1 pkg active dry yeast (2+1/4 tsp)
1 tsp sugar

1/4 Tbsp salt
1 Tbsp vegetable oil
3 cups all-purpose flour (approx.)

Preperation:

In a large mixing bowl, stir together warm water, yeast and sugar. Allow 5-10 minutes or til foamy.
Add 2 cups of the flour, salt and oil. With dough hook, mix on low until blended then on medium speed for about 5 minutes til dough comes together and balls. Turn out onto floured surface to knead, adding flour as needed. Knead about 15-20 minutes til smooth, springy and small bubbles form just under the surface.
Place dough in greased bowl turning to coat. Cover with plastic wrap and let rise until doubled, about 1 hour.
20 minutes before this first rising finishes, soak the bottom of a Romertopf Clay Baker 111 in water. Drain, pat dry and generously grease sides & bottom.
Punch down risen dough, shape into a loaf and place in clay baker. Let stand for 2nd rising, covered with wrap, about 30-45 minutes or til dough almost reaches the top of the cooker.
Soak top of baker for 15 minutes while dough is again rising. When dough has risen, use a sharp razor, knife or lame to cut 2-3 diagonal slashes on top of dough approx. 1/2" deep. Drain lid, pat dry and grease. Place covered baker into cold oven, set temperature to 475 degrees F and bake for 45 minutes. Remove lid and continue to bake til top is brown, about 3-5 minutes. Remove, cool on wire rack.
adapted from Clay cookery by the Editors of Consumer Guide

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Old 09-20-2017, 07:03 AM   #2
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Personal Notes:

First of all, I don't have a dough hook, so I decided I would give one more try in the Food Processor. Didn't like that so once balled I dumped it out right away onto a board. Perhaps I should have given the FP the benefit of the doubt and let it knead some more - but I didn't.

The kneading was very dry and the outside surface was splitting rather than being elastic and smooth, it also felt very stiff and didn't meld back into itself the way most breads do while kneading. I'm now thinking I should have left it to rest 10 minutes before starting the 'big knead' in order for the flour to re-hydrate.

The first rising went well so continued with punching down and reshaping. Again I wasn't quite happy with the tucking under.

Baked exactly 45 minutes and was lightly browned on top. It only needed a few more minutes to brown a wee tad more on top. As each oven bakes differently - take care and watch/smell the progress at the end of your 40 or 45 minutes.

It popped out of the clay baker beautifully - first time baking in it and I was not sure how it would release. They also didn't specify whether to take out of the baker to cool on the rack. I did take it out figuring I wouldn't want the hot clay to bake the bread further and maybe dry it out. Not really being experienced in this style I supposed others would have known.

The crust is absolutely perfect and the crumb inside beautiful, soft and tender - there were no huge gaping holes (as I often get with rustic artisinal breads). About my only concern is that when sliced it easily 'unrolls' along where the folds were when shaping the loaf - a bit awkward if using as sandwich bread.

Conclusion: I will just mix and knead by hand as I normally do. Allow 10 minutes restiing to re-hydrate. and I think it will live up to their name of "The Perfect Loaf"
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Old 09-20-2017, 12:54 PM   #3
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Thank you for posting the recipe.
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Old 09-21-2017, 11:47 AM   #4
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New loaf observations

I gave the last half of the first loaf to my neighbour. Am in the process of baking another one.

No distractions nor deviations this time... yeah, riight..

dough is soft and pluffy. Only half way thru the 1st rise and it has already doubled. Have moved it into the livingroom where it is 'sort of' cooler at 76 F. Kitchen is 82 F. A/C not on as it is not on the grid and Hydro is doing repairs and have "interrupted" our power (from 8 til about 5 - love my generac!).

Need to wait to finish soaking the bottom of the pot before I can deflate and let rise again.

Arghh! always something!
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