A Wicked Scoff...Recipes and Food with Newfoundland and New England Influences.

This blog is dedicated to bring recipes, photographs, anecdotes, reviews and other insights on everything food related. As the name suggests, "A Wicked Scoff" will have a regional flare, a fusion if you will, of both Newfoundland and New England perspectives of the culinary world around me. Thanks for visiting and please come back often as updates will be frequent. Oh yeah, I also like tasting and cooking with regional beers. Expect a beer of the month, often paired with recipes.

Monday, December 27, 2010

Artisan Bread Boule

Merry Christmas to all A Wicked Scoff readers. I hope the holidays have been treating you well, and you've been keeping your belly full. I know I have. As some of you may know, A Wicked Scoff has been getting some special, and well appreciated media coverage from Downhome Magazine (http://downhomelife.com/blog.php?id=1126) as both one of their feature blogs on downhomelife.com and also as a special column in the new January 2011 issue of the magazine. To any of you who have found your way here via Downhome, welcome, and please keep coming back and sending in your comments as I have many new and exciting creations to post for the new year.

Speaking of the January issue of Downhome Magazine, the featured recipe was my version of a Seafood Chowder, a thick, rich and creamy chowder featuring fresh cod, salmon, shrimp and scallops. In the article I photographed the chowder in a homemade, artisan-style European bread boule (bowl). To compliment the chowder recipe, I wanted to share this very simple and tasty bread recipe with you here.  I found the inspiration for the recipe after some quick internet searching for a bread boule recipe. The search can be overwhelming, so I found a few I liked and came up with my own, adding some beer and adjusting the amounts of flour, water and salt. The process is super easy, as I used a stand mixer to make the dough, let it rise, place it in the refrigerator overnight, and make the boules on a pizza stone in a very hot oven. The result is a tangy and tasty piece of homemade bread. Here's how you make them.

- 2 cups of water (lukewarm, between 100-110 degree Fahrenheit)
- 1 1/2 Tbsp active dry yeast (2 small packets)
- 1 cup of lager beer, at room temperature (I used Jockey Horse from Newfoundland)
-1 Tbsp Kosher salt
- 6 cups all-purpose flour (plus more for dusting)

- In a large bowl or your stand mixer bowl, add the warm water and the yeast, stir and let rest for a few minutes. Turn the mixer on low speed with the dough hook attachment and add the salt and beer, followed by gradually adding the flour. Let the mixer work the dough for 5 minutes. Cover with plastic wrap and a tea towel and let rise in a warm place for about 2 hours. At this stage, the bread can be made, but for better flavor it is best to let it rest in the fridge for at least a day, but will last for a week or more. This also means you can make the dough the night before, saving you time before the day you are going top serve the bread. Place the risen dough (do not punch down) in the fridge and keep it there in a large covered bowl (allow room for some expansion) until ready to use.

When ready to cook the bread, place a pizza stone on the bottom rack and preheat the stone in a hot 500 degree oven for 30 minutes. Take the dough out of the fridge and cut softball sized portions for each bread boule and knead quickly into a ball. You may need to flour the board to help form the dough balls. On the top rack of the oven, place a shallow pan of water (a moist oven will help give the bread a nice crust). Give each boule a slit or criss-cross on the top with a sharp serrated knife or razor blade. Once the stone is hot, place 2 pr 3 balls of dough at a time onto the stone using a pizza peel (make sure to add cornmeal or flour to the peel so the dough doesn't stick). Cook the boules for about 18-20 minutes or until golden brown and feel hollow when you give them a knock with your knuckles. Place on a wire rack and let cool for as long as you can resist to cut off the top and hollow out for soup bowls. Fill with your favorite chowder, soup or chili!

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