Wednesday, September 5, 2012
He tried various recipes, and at one point even had some sourdough starter taking-up a semi-permanent residence in our refrigerator. But usually the bread had a hard crunchy crust, with a warm soft interior that just called for gobs of butter.
These memories have stayed with me. And late last year, I found myself trying to bake bread for the first time. It took a few tries before I was happy with the result. After all, getting a crunchy crust on a french bread is hard unless you have a professional-grade oven with steam injectors! But the recipe below resulted in a tasty and tender bread that wasn't overly dense, and it had an almost perfect crust.
Make perfect bread with a pizza stone like this from Sur La Table.
First, there are some tips you should be aware of:
#1) If you want an awesome crunchy crust, steam is your friend. If placing the loaf on a pizza stone, or an upside down cast-iron skillet or baking sheet, you'll want to place 1/2 cup of water in an open oven-safe container (i.e. pie tin) AND throw 1/2 cup of water onto the bottom of the oven once the bread is in the oven. The water thrown into the oven flash-steams, while the water in the container evaporates over time keeping the oven more humid.
#2) Use a pizza stone, cast iron dutch or an upside-down cast iron skillet.You want something that is thick, retains and radiates heat. If you don’t have one of these, don’t worry, just use a good-quality, thick baking sheet -- upside down
Click "read more" to get the recipe