This bread loaf is inspired by the ubiquitous loaves we made at Figs and kept always at the ready for hungry customers. I have fond memories of poaching portions of fresh loaves and making the most incredible sandwiches in the restaurant kitchen.
This is an extremely easy bread to make, but baked on the Baking Steel, it has a crusty, inimitable texture that will fill you with pride: you won’t believe you were able to attain this crust at home! It’s perfect for sandwiches, soup bread bowls or served warm with olive oil for dipping. Or my favorite, dipped in room temperature butter.
BREAD BOWL RECIPE
Recipe from Baking With Steel
Makes one 10-12 inch loaf or 3-4 personal bread bowls
500 grams (3½ cups) bread flour
16 grams (1 tablespoon) fine sea salt
1 grams (1/4 teaspoons) active dry yeast
300-400 grams water (105 degrees F)*
*depending on your level of bread baking, the higher the amount of water, the more difficult it is to shape. Higher hydration doughs have great crumbs and hole structures. More experience bakers use 400 grams of water, less experienced try 300 grams.
- In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, salt, and yeast.
- Slowly add the water, and mix with a wooden spoon to just combine.
- Turn the dough out onto a floured work surface and knead for 5-6 minutes by hand (alternately, you can mix for 3-4 minutes on medium speed in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the dough hook). You want to remove any dry clumps and form a nice, tight ball. Place in a lightly-oiled bowl, cover with a damp kitchen towel or plastic wrap and let rise at room temperature for 24 hours.
- Turn the risen dough mixture out onto a floured work surface.
- With floured hands, shape the dough into a large ball by folding the sides in. Place the ball, seam side up, in a floured bread basket and cover with a damp towel. Let rest for 2 more hours.
- Halfway through the resting period, position a rack in the middle position of your oven and place the Baking Steel on top. Preheat oven to 400 degrees F for 45-60 minutes.
- Turn the dough onto a lightly floured pizza peel, seam side down. Make 2-3 slits across the dough, cutting ⅛ inch deep with a bread lame or razor blade.
- Use the pizza peel to launch the dough onto your Baking Steel. Bake for 10-15 minutes, rotating halfway to ensure even baking. Halfway through, elevate the loaf on top of our Baking Steel Bracelets for even cooking and airflow. An additional 10-15 minutes on top of those bracelets or something to elevate will help finish the Bake. Remove from the oven with a pizza peel, and transfer to a wire rack to let cool completely before serving.
- Store in a paper bag at room temperature for up to 3 days, or freeze up to 1 month.