Slashing your dough properly creates a beautiful loaf of bread, but can also help it rise in the oven. If your slashes are not deep enough, the dough may tear open on the top or bottom of the loaf. Leaving you with bread that tastes delicious, but doesn’t live up to its artistic potential. The loaf can also end up being a touch dense if you don’t slash deep enough, because it won’t open up and make way for a dramatic oven spring. So, for the most beautiful crust and best interior crumb, you’ll want to follow these few tricks for slashing. Continue reading
The rye flour available in supermarkets is delicious, but it’s whole-grain, and that’s not what we grew up with as kids. Those rye breads from yesteryear were made from “medium” rye (bran and germ-depleted), and the result was lighter. Bob’s Red Mill and Hodgson Mills rye flours make great breads, but you have to go light with them to re-create what we used to get years ago.
We figured that wasn’t what people were looking for in our books, so we went a little heavier in the recipes we published in Artisan Bread in Five Minutes a Day, and of course, with much more whole grain in Healthy Bread in Five Minutes a Day. In this video, I’m talking about using relatively little of the Bob’s or the Hodgson product. Follow the recipe at our Back to Basics post, but subsitute 1/2 cup of rye flour (Bob’s or Hodgson Mills) for 1/2 cup of unbleached all-pupose (in the book, the swap is for a full cup). Then, add 1 1/2 tablespoons caraway seeds to the initial mix. Everything else is the same (in Artisan Bread in Five, we used a whole cup of rye flour, and it’s also a great result– just different).
To clarify a couple of things from the video: I said to turn and shape the loaf pulling around on three sides– I meant “on four sides;” turn the loaf in quadrants and pull the top around to the bottom to create a “cloak.” And of course, rest the loaf on on cornmeal or parchment, not on the board where you shaped it or you’d have to lift the fully proofed loaf, which isn’t a good idea.
20 to 30 minutes before baking time, preheat a baking stone to 450 degrees F (230 degrees C), with a metal broiler tray on any other shelf that won’t interfere with rising bread (do not use glass for this purpose or it will shatter). Using a pastry brush, paint the loaf with water and sprinkle with more caraway seeds.
Slash at least 1/2-inch deep with a serrated bread knife, making perpendicular, not angled cuts, as in the video. Slide loaf onto the baking stone and pour 1 cup of hot water into the broiler tray and close the oven door. Bake for about 30 minutes or until golden brown.
Allow to cool before slicing, and enjoy!