I love baking bread, and I eat a lot of it. Unfortunately, my usual recipe takes a fair number of hours to complete, so I normally only bake on the weekends. That means that by the end of the week, I am either out of bread, or the remaining bread has gone stale. I decided to try a new recipe that is scheduled around my workday.
There are two approached that I could have used. The first would have been to shorten the rising time by increasing the amount of yeast and the temperature during rising. Unfortunately, this adds a yeasty flavour to the bread and decreases the other flavours released from the flour. Instead, I decided to increase the rise time tremendously. I used slightly less yeast, and after making my dough in the evening I placed it in the refrigerator.
In the morning, I punched it down before going to work, and put it back in the fridge. After coming home from work in the evening, I pulled it out of the refrigerator and formed it. The proof period was long, about an hour, because the dough was still cold. I used this time to walk the dogs. I preheated the oven to 475. This loaf was rubbed in flour before baking, scored in a star pattern, and steam was created by pouring a cup of water into a cookie sheet at the bottom of the oven. I baked for 35 minutes, and was very happy with the results.
As the bread springs in the oven, the flour coating separates, forming a nice white pattern on the dark crust. Flour not made into dough stays white when baked, even when the bread turns near black.
The scoring opens up, and after baking, the crust contracts, creating the small cracks visible in this picture. Onto the rack to cool, and taste tomorrow morning!
~The Homesteading Hippy