This recipe is very manageable and represents a good starting point to learn the art of baking great bread. You will notice a few additional steps throughout the process which you may not be used to. These steps are important and, in general, can be applied to most bread baking recipes. A very important step in making the dough is the rest period between the first and second mixing times. Baking great bread is an art, but one that is fun and can become an addictive pursuit.
Before You Start
It is important to remember that great bread takes time. The actual “active” time spent making bread is fairly minimal; however, the waiting periods between the proofings are quite long. The temperature in your home will directly affect the time needed for the bread to rise properly. This process cannot be rushed and is important for the proper flavor and structure of the bread.
Place all the ingredients into the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a dough hook. Knead the dough on medium low speed for 5 minutes. The dough will be slightly sticky. Turn the mixer off and cover the mixing bowl with a damp kitchen towel or plastic wrap. Allow to stand for 15 minutes.
Remove the plastic wrap and continue kneading on medium low speed for 5 minutes. Remove the bowl from the mixer. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and allow to proof until doubled in size. Gently transfer the risen dough from the mixing bowl onto a floured counter.
Form the proofed dough gently into a round loaf and place on the solid convection steam oven pan lined with a sheet of parchment paper that has been dusted with flour. Cover the dough with plastic wrap and allow to proof again for 30 to 45 minutes.
Remove the plastic wrap and make a pair of two-inch-deep slashes (that cross) in the top of the loaf. Use the sharpest knife you have to make the cuts.
Immediately place in the convection steam oven on rack position 2. Press the center knob twice to select the Gourmet Mode menu. Scroll the knob to the right to select the Gourmet setting A11 – Bread. Press the center knob to make the selection. Scroll the center knob left or right to select the desired browning. Use “well browned” for a nice deep crust (or “medium browned” for a lighter crust). Bake until the oven shuts off automatically. Remove the pan from the oven and place the bread on a wire rack to cool completely.