Jake’s Bread

The instructions are detailed and if followed as close as possible should yield a no fail result.

January 5, 2015 | | Breads | Food | Recipes | Winter 2014 Recipe Contest

The original recipe was James Beard’s Cuban Bread which was 1/3 of a page in a small paperback cookbook. It was succinct but left much to the imagination and consequently, much room for error. I have refined this over many years into a bread recipe which takes less than 3 hours from the very start to the last of the clean-up.

The instructions are detailed and if followed as close as possible should yield a no fail result.

This is bread at its simplest and very best.

Jake’s Bread

Recipe submitted by: Jim Lorriman ( Visit Website )

Serves

Depends how generous you are!

Prep Time

1 hour 30 minutes (approximately)

Cook Time

55 minutes

Type

55 minutes

Breads

Ingredients

In the order required

  • 2 Tablespoons active dry yeast for bread
  • 2 Tablespoons white sugar
  • 1-1/2 Tablespoons salt
  • 4-1/4 Cups water at 110F to 115F
  • 2 Tablespoons white sugar
  • 6 - 8 Cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 - 3 Tablespoons cornmeal
  • 1 Cup all-purpose flour
  • 1 Cup of water

Instructions

  1. * * OVEN PREPARATION * *
  2. Make sure that there are two racks in the oven and that they are in the bottom 2 positions
  3. Make sure that the mixing bowl will fit in the oven on the upper rack
  4. Turn on the oven to 200F
  5. Turn oven off when temperature reaches 200F
  6. * * YEAST PREPARATION * *
  7. While oven is warming up turn on hot water tap
  8. While water heats up add first three ingredients to large mixing bowl
  9. Water should be lukewarm to slightly hot - 110F to 115F. Hotter water will kill the yeast
  10. Add 4-1/4 cups of water to the large mixing bowl
  11. Stir with whisk - mix well
  12. Let stand 10 minutes
  13. Note - Mixture should be foamy and at least 1/3 again larger in size. If not, you should start again with fresh yeast
  14. Add 2 Tablespoons of white sugar and whisk well
  15. * *MAKING DOUGH * *
  16. Add 2 cups of flour
  17. Whisk well to remove the lumps and mix in dry flour
  18. Add 2 more cups of flour
  19. Whisk well to remove the lumps and mix in dry flour
  20. It will become heavy going with the whisk by this point
  21. Remove as much dough as possible from the whisk and set aside for washing
  22. From this point on, a wooden spoon makes a good stirrer
  23. Add 1 cup of flour and stir in well
  24. Continue adding decreasing amounts of flour until the dough stops sticking together when it is folded. This may take as little as 1/2 a cup and as much as 3 cups
  25. Use knife to scrape excess dough from spoon
  26. Cover dough with tea towel
  27. Let rise in oven for 60 minutes
  28. * * BAKING PREPARATION * *
  29. Prepare a large cookie sheet (with edges) by sprinkling the surface generously with cornmeal
  30. Do not move the cookie sheet after the cornmeal has been sprinkled
  31. Get out a brownie pan with 2" high sides (ideally 9" x 12") and set aside
  32. Use 1 cup of flour to prepare a floured surface for the dough
  33. Before removing dough from oven but after the timer has gone off fill tea kettle 3/4 full and put on to boil
  34. When it reaches a boil - turn off
  35. Remove the dough from the bowl by pouring and follow the dough out by scraping the bowl at the sticky points with the wooden spoon
  36. Set wooden spoon aside for washing
  37. Make sure hands are well floured
  38. Flip dough over and back several times to make sure that "wet" areas receive flour and knead by folding over and pushing down 3 or 4 times
  39. Cut dough in half with knife
  40. Keep hands well floured and make each half into a round loaf by gently pushing and pulling the edges under and towards the center (Do not allow the top to break open - If it does, stop there - Do not try to rework the loaf)
  41. Put one edge of the loaf at the center of the cookie sheet
  42. Put the second loaf comfortably snuggling up to the first
  43. Put loaves in oven and let rise for 3 - 4 minutes or until the kettle boils
  44. Take the loaves out of the oven and slash the tops with a sharp knife up to 3 slashes per loaf
  45. Gently pat the surface of the loaves with fingers dipped in water - Do not over do it - This makes the bread crusty
  46. Put the loaves back in the oven
  47. Pull out the lower rack and put the brownies pan in the center - in the same direction as the cookie sheet - half fill the pan with water from the kettle - Gently push the rack back into the oven
  48. * * BAKING & FINISHING * *
  49. Shut the oven door and set to 350F - Note that the oven is not pre-heated other than the residue heat from raising the dough
  50. Set timer to 55 minutes
  51. Loaves should sound hollow when tapped - If so they are done - They should also have a golden brown colour
  52. Take the loaves out of the oven
  53. Carefully slide out bottom rack and with oven mitts and pot holders, remove pan of hot water from the oven and dispose of it
  54. Remove the loaves from the sheet within 10 minutes of removal from the oven. If the loaves are stuck, slide a spatula underneath to loosen them
  55. Break them apart in the middle and put on wire racks to cool
  56. Loaves left out will be very crusty
  57. Cooled loaves that are stored in plastic bags have a chewy crust
  58. Shelf life is about 3 days
  59. Cut left over heels and crusts in cubes and dry in the oven for croutons

Notes

Utensils In the order required: Large mixing bowl, Measuring spoons, Measuring cup, Good size stainless steel whisk, Wooden stirring spoon, Sharp knife, Tea towel large enough to cover mixing bowl, Large cookie sheet with sides, 9" x 12" brownie pan with 2" sides, Tea kettle, Spatula, Cooling racks. Clean Up: Mixing Bowl - Fill mixing bowl with hot water or immerse in a sink of hot water - let stand for 10 - 15 minutes DO NOT CLEAN WITH A DISH BRUSH! Rub bowl with hands to remove dough - best to use rubber gloves - Rinse then wash with other dishes – a rubber spatula can be used to remove the dough Cornmeal - Save the cornmeal from the cookie sheet - Store it in a jar - It can be re-used for the same purpose indefinitely - When making the next loaves, use cornmeal from the jar and supplement from a fresh package Flour on Counter - If you have a sifter, scrape flour from counter into the sifter and sift flour back into bag or container - Do NOT overdo it - Put the remains in the compost - Note - There is no oil in this bread so that any waste can be composted

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