You will need a container with a lid that is big enough to hold the dough when fully risen.
That square tub is a cheap, Smart Price 5 litre container from Asda, but any container of roughly that size, that is food safe, will do.
Measuring spoons for the yeast and salt.
A jug for the water.
A spoon for getting the flour out of the flour storage tub or bag.
A spatula, or wooden spoon, or mixer.
I am also using a kitchen timer that doubles as a food thermometer.
You can do without some of those items. For instance, water is 1 gram per ml so 750 mls of water weighs 750 grams, so you could weigh your water straight into the container you will be making the dough in, rather than measuring it in a jug. Equally I have poured flour straight from the bag into the measuring container and not used a spoon, before now. And often I do not use the thermometer on the water, but figured since it was close at hand, I would do today.
The spatula that I use for mixing the dough is a very stiff plastic spatula, rather than one of the flexible silicone ones and I prefer it for this purpose, I find it mixes much better in these containers than a spoon, or silicone spatula would.
Then you need your ingredients. Just 4.
PLAIN Flour, not bread flour, but it does need to be unbleached. Do not panic if your flour is not labelled as unbleached as MOST plain flour on the market in the UK today IS unbleached but not labelled as such. If in doubt, contact the supplier to be sure.
Salt. Yes I use low sodium salt and Jeff and Zoe would probably tell me that is not a good idea, but it is what I do. It is a fine grain salt not a coarse grain so I need to use just 2/3 of what the recipe calls for.
Yeast. Don't bother with the sachets, that is the most expensive way of buying yeast, just go ahead and get the tinned stuff.
Water. Luke warm water at no more than 38c. You can make it with cooler water than that (your first rise may take a little longer), but no warmer or you could kill the yeast!
If you want the amounts, check out the book! I'm just going to show you how easy this is!
Water goes in first, followed by yeast and salt. Then the flour and mix.
or would you prefer an action shot -
Just mix it until there are no dry bits left.
Put the lid on the container but do not shut it completely, leave it slightly ajar.
Then you leave it.
The photo above is the tub of dough at the start. The next two are after 1 hour and after 2 hours.
After 2 hours, the dough should have risen well and you need to put it in the fridge, for at least 3 hours. I usually do that overnight, but today we will leave it just the 3 hours.
When it is time to make the dough, the book calls for a pizza peel, polenta and flour. Well, I don't have a pizza peel, but I do have this:
I think I bought it from Lakeland Kitchen supplies back when they were still "Lakeland Plastics", and it was labelled as a cake slice, but it does the job of a pizza peel in this case, really well. You can see I have sprinkled it with polenta.
Take your container of dough out of the fridge. It will have dropped from the high point it originally rose to. Don't worry, it's supposed to be like this.
Sprinkle a handful of flour over one corner of the dough in your tub and pull up a grapefruit sized piece. Hmmmmm, I know this is supposed to be quite a slack dough but this was wetter than any batch I remember making. But by dumping it into my flour tub then pulling it back out I was still able to do the gluten cloak described in the book.
However it does look very loose sat there, (much looser than in the videos of Jeff making the dough that are available on their website) to the extent that I am wondering if I have made an error in the measuring out I did earlier.
For now, back to today's loaf.
This is how it looked at the start of it's resting time A little spread out but pretty much how I remember it from the old book:
And this is how it looked after resting. Hmmmm, not sure this is going to work, look at all those craters in what was supposed to be a smooth surface from the gluten cloak, but let's give it a go anyway!
Sprinkle with a handful of flour, and slash the top.
The book says that with a deft flick of the wrist the loaf should transfer from your pizza peel to a preheated oven stone. Hmmm, my loaf got stuck in one place and dragged out, as you can see from the shape of the finished loaf. When preheating your oven and stone you also preheat a roasting pan or grill pan in the bottom of the oven. When you put the bread into the oven, you also put a cupful of hot water into the pan. This creates steam, which creates crust.
Leave to cool before cutting into the loaf and this was the result for me!
That's not right! Hmmmmm. So, I added a handful of flour to the dough to make another loaf, which I will show you tomorrow, but I really am wondering if I got the measuring right! These loaves never come out how you expect but I truly don't remember loaves that were this disappointing. Hmmmmmm. I know the yeast worked because the dough did rise. I used stoneground flour because that was what was open and wonder if that might have had an effect, but I am guessing that actually I did not measure right! I have been a bit distracted lately!