When using cool liquid, bread dough will require a longer fermentation. The outcome is a heartier flavor, commonly referred to as “country-style.”
INGREDIENTS | YIELDS 1 LOAF
- 1 cup cold buttermilk
- 2 tablespoons honey
- 1¾ teaspoons active dry yeast (1 package)
- 1 egg
- 2 tablespoons canola oil
- 1½ teaspoons kosher salt
- 3–4 cups bread flour
- 1 tablespoon cornmeal
- 2 tablespoons cream
In a large bowl, combine buttermilk, honey, and yeast. Stir to dissolve and let stand until foamy, about 30 minutes.
Add egg, oil, salt, and 1 cup of flour; stir to combine. Add enough remaining flour to create a firm dough. Turn out onto a floured surface and knead 8–10 minutes. Return to bowl, dust the top lightly with flour, and cover with a damp cloth or plastic wrap. Rise at room temperature until doubled in volume, about 3 hours.
Line a baking sheet with parchment; dust with cornmeal. Turn risen dough onto a floured surface and shape into a smooth, round ball. Place onto prepared 9″ × 5″ pan seam-side down. Cover loosely with plastic and set aside to proof for 30 minutes. Preheat oven to 375°F.
Brush cream lightly over risen loaf. Using a serrated knife, slash a crosshatch design into the top of the dough, about 1″ deep. Place a pan of cold water at the bottom of the oven to create steam.
Bake until golden brown and hollow sounding, about 30–40 minutes. Remove to a rack and cool completely.
Few home cooks bake on the hearth these days, but the traditional brick-oven look and feel can be easily re-created in a modern oven. Cornmeal is used on a traditional peel, the wooden paddle used to bring bread in and out of the hearth. Using cornmeal on your baking sheet will make it look like you've wielded a peel.