A lean bread is one that has very little fat or sugar in it, if any. Most sandwich breads aren’t lean breads: they’re enriched, so they contain things like sugar, butter, oil, flavorings, and other such things. They’re great, but I wanted to make the lean bread recipe from Peter Reinhart’s Artisan Breads Every Day.
The recipe is very simple: water, flour, yeast, and salt. You mix until everything’s combined, and instead of kneading it traditionally, you do the stretch-and-fold method four times, going in ten minute intervals. It’s amazing how just one stretch-and-fold can take a rough, coarse, wet mess and turn it into a glossy, springy dough.
|Shaping the dough|
To develop flavor in the wheat, this dough requires an overnight rise in the refrigerator. When you’re ready to bake, you take it out, shape it, and let it rise at room temperature for at least two hours.
Typical hearth baking is next: a pan of hot water at the bottom of the oven to create steam, and bake at high heat.
|The finished loaves. We both need to work on shaping and scoring|
Overall, a fun project, and one that produces tasty bread. I achieved a few larger holes in the crumb, but the important thing is that my little boy and I did this thing together. We’ll see if he picks up the bread bug.