Finally a winner! And James Beard’s Water-proofed Bread

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 Yes, finally a winner! Last night, reclining on my usual sofa, I followed the IACP Award ceremony on all social media I could find while chatting with Jamie via iMessage, I was obviously hoping that Plated Stories would win but somehow I was a tad vary because I don’t think I ever won anything like this in my whole life but Plated Stories won the Best Photo Based Culinary Blog! It did! And my heart raced like a crazy horse – I haven’t slept this badly since I had a sick baby although this time the reason was at least positive and I foresee a lovely snooze on the above mentioned sofa in the very near future.

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But I didn’t start writing this post just to tell you the news but, more importantly, to share the recipe of this month’s Bread Baking Babes bread, a bread that you bake with a technique I never heard of before, i.e. you let the bread rise in water.  This month it is Elle of Feeding My Enthusiasms who has chosen what we were to bake and a really nice choice it is, it is one of the softest breads I ever baked! With my usual procrastinating lifestyle, I have been baking it this morning which could be the cause of the little problem that happened to me or rather, to the water-proofing dough; I suggest you to use a huge kitchen towel and DO fold in the dough very, very well, I dropped my dough parcel into the water and then took the dog for a walk. What a mistake that was, because when I came back the parcel was floating all right but so did the dough that had seeped out… But I slapped it onto the marble and added the parceled dough plus some more flour and then proceeded, following the directions of the recipe and fortunately it worked perfectly!

You can of course bake this bread without being a Bread Baking Buddy but if you want a badge and be part of the roundup, please click over to Elle’s blog and get all the details. (Elle is still sleeping and haven’t posted yet when I write this but I will update this post with the right link as soon as possible).

Bake My Day – Karen
Bread Baking Babe Bibliothécaire – Katie
blog from OUR kitchen – Elizabeth
Feeding my enthusiasms – Elle
girlichef – Heather
Life’s A Feast – Jamie
Living in the Kitchen with Puppies – Natashya
My Kitchen In Half Cups – Tanna
Notitie Van Lien – Lien
My Diverse Kitchen – Aparna
Bread Experience – Cathy

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Water-Proofed Bread
from James Beard, Beard on Bread, 1973
makes 2 loaves

2 packages active dry yeast
120 ml/ 1/2 cup  warm water (100 – 115 degrees F, approximately)
60 ml/ 1/4 cup plus 1 teaspoon granulated sugar
120 ml/ 1/2 cup warm milk
113 g/ 1 stick (1/2 cup) butter
2 teaspoons salt
3 eggs
830 ml/ 3 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
More flour for the tea towel

Rinse a 4-quart mixing bowl with warm water. Dry thoroughly. Put in the yeast, the 1/2 cup warm water, and the teaspoon of sugar, and stir until the yeast dissolves. Allow to proof for 5 minutes. Heat the milk with the butter and 1/4 cup sugar until lukewarm, then add to the yeast mixture. Add the salt and stir to blend well.
Add the eggs, one at a time, and again blend thoroughly. Then stir in 3 cups of flour, 1 cup at a time, to make what will probably be a very wet and sticky dough. Stir quite vigorously. Spread out the dough on a working surface – a table, a piece of marble, or a board – sprinkled with the additional 1/2 cup flour. Use a baker’s scraper or large spatula to work in this last portion of flour and make the dough firmer. Scrape under the flour and the dough, lifting and folding inward. Repeat until the flour is well incorporated.

When the dough is easy to handle, begin kneading by hand. Continue until the dough can be shaped. (The process of kneading first with the scraper and then by hand if very effective for delicate dough. In this case the dough will remain rather sticky, but don’t worry about it.)

Lift the dough, pat with flour, and place on a clean kitchen towel also sprinkled with flour. Wrap it and tie it in the towel, just as you would a package, but very loosely.

Submerge this packet in a large bowl filled with warm water (about 100 – 115 degrees F, approximately). It will sink.

Let sit for about 35 to 40 minutes, or until it rises sufficiently to float on top of the water.

Lift the dough from the water and let the excess water drip off. Un-wrap and turn out on a lightly floured surface. Again it will be quite sticky, so scrape off any dough that adheres to the towel. Knead and shape into tow loaves, using both dough scraper and your hands.

Thoroughly butter two 9 x 5 x 3-inch loaf pans and place one loaf in each pan. Cover, put in a warm, draft-free place, and let the dough rise slightly above the tops of the pans, or until almost doubled in bulk.

Meanwhile preheat the oven to 180°C/375°F. Brush the dough with cold water, and, if you like, make a slash in each loaf with a sharp knife. Place on the middle rack of the oven and bake for about 30 – 35 minutes, or until the loaves sound hollow when rapped with the knuckles, top and bottom. When don, place the loaves directly on the oven rack, without their pans, to brown the bottom a little more and crisp the crusts. Cool on racks.

L