A blog by ordinary people about living an extraordinary life
Lately I have had the urge to bake bread. I used to make flatbreads, but since my first try with the braided loaf I am looking forward to trying more ambitious loaves. Meghan found this recipe in the latest Food Network Magazine so I had to give it a shot. I will warn you, this recipe is time intensive, taking about 6 hours from start to finish. There is a lot of waiting, while the dough rises 3 times. But the end result is a delicious and festive loaf of bread. This season give it a shot, there is just something about the smell of fresh bread baking in the oven that fills your entire house. I know I plan to make this again before Christmas.
Combine 4 ingredients in a large bowl, mix to combine. Add 2 1/2 cups of water (microwave for 1 minute so that the water is warm but not hot, if the water is too hot it can inactivate the yeast). Mix the water in with a wooden spoon to get a sticky dough. Loosely cover with plastic wrap and set aside for 3 hours to allow to rise. The dough will triple in size.
Divide the dough in half, cover again with plastic and place in the refrigerator for 2 hours.
Preheat the oven to 475F. Place a pizza stone on a rack at the top of the oven. On the bottom rack, place a roasting pan. I used a roasting pan because I did not have a broiler pan.
Roll the dough into 2 balls, cover with plastic and refrigerate for another 30 minutes.
Since I do not have a pizza peel, I turned a baking sheet over and placed a piece of parchment paper on it. Take one of the dough balls, and poke a hole through the middle. Stretch out the dough to create a 9-inch ring. Sprinkle with flour and allow to rest for 15 minutes.
Using kitchen shears, make 8 evenly spaced out cuts into the dough. Pull the “leaves” away from the center of the wreath. Again allow the dough to rest for 15 minutes.
Slide the dough onto the hot pizza stone. Pour about 1 cup of water into the pan to create steam and quickly close the oven. Bake until the bread is lightly browned, about 15-20 minutes. Repeat the process with the second ball of dough.
Special thanks to Meg for taking the photos in this post.