I started making bread after I bought the "Artisan Bread in 5 minutes a day" and I find it ever so rewarding!
This recipe is my adaptation of their Pain d'Epi recipe.
What I particularly like about this method is that you can prepare the bread mix in minutes, and then put it in the fridge and use it in the next 2 weeks, whenever you feel like having some fresh, incredibly scented, crusty bread.
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Step 1: Mixing and Wait.
The ingredients for 2 450 g loaves are:
300 g ( 1 ½ CUPS) lukewarm water
9 g ( 2 ¼ TEASPOONS) yeast
11 g (2 ¼ TABLESPOONS) salt
490 g (3 ¼ CUPS )bread flour, plus extra for dusting
large bowl with lid
scale or measuring cups and spoons
2 oven trays , one for the bread and one for the water
In a large bowl mix the yeast and the water with a woodenspoon .
Add the flour and salt and mix until all of the flour has been incorporated. You should end up with a sticky dough.
Put the lid on top of the bowl - not airtight though, and leave in a warm place to prove for a couple of hours.
If you're not going to make your bread on the same day, just pop the bowl in the fridge straight away, and it can be kept there for up to 2 weeks.
Step 2: Shaping...
Once the bread has doubled in size dust the surface with some flour, and with the help of a pair of scissors cut half of it.
Put the bowl back in the fridge.
Dust your hands and shape the dough into a ball stretching the sides of it and tucking them underneath. Rotate the dough while doing this 4 or 5 more times.
Step 3: ...the Wreath
Push your thumbs through the middle of the dough and gently stretch the hole until it's around three times wider than the thickness of the dough ring.
Put the ring on a piece of parchment paper dusted with corn flour, and let it rest for 1 hour.
Step 4: Cut, Cut, Cut...
Preheat the oven to 450°F (230°C) and put inside it the oven tray and another tray you'll be filling with water when ready to bake the bread.
Just before baking dust some flour on the dough surface and, with a pair of scissors, cut the wreath from the top, at an angle, stopping before you get to the bottom, then fold the pieces over to the outside of the wreath.
Repeat until all of the wreath has been cut.
Step 5: Baking Time!
Quickly open the oven door, take the oven tray out, put the wreath and the parchment paper on the tray and pop it in the oven.
Have some hot tap water (roughly 1 cup) at hand, and pour it in the other tray.
Close the oven door and bake for about 30 minutes or until the bread is golden brown, and the crust firm to the touch.
Let the bread rest on a rack until completely cool.
I made this bread wreath for Christmas lunch, and decorated it with some festive ribbon.
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