Saturday, 22 August 2009

Couronne: Artisan Bread in 5 Minutes

This week, we're making a French Bread using the Artisan Bread in Five Minutes method. A couronne is a beautiful ring or crown-shaped loaf that is a specialty of Lyon.

This is a very easy bread to make especially with this method. Instead of having to allow extra time to make the dough, we can use the last bit of dough from the batch that has been fermenting in the refrigerator for the past 14 days. We'll make a fresh batch of dough next time to use over a 2-week period. I don't know about you, but things have gotten a little crazier around my house now that high school is back in session so every little short cut helps to minimize the craziness if only just a little bit.

Makes: 1 beautiful loaf
From Artisan Bread in Five Minutes by Jeff Hertzberg and Zoe Francois

  • 1 pound Boule dough
  • Whole wheat flour for dusting the pizza peel


Dust the surface of the refrigerated dough with flour and cut off a 1-pound (grapefruit-size) piece.I had a little over a pound left so I just grabbed the rest of the dough.

Dust the piece with more flour and shape it into a ball by stretching the surface of the dough around to the bottom on all four sides, rotating the ball a quarter-turn as you go.

Once you have the ball-shape, poke your thumbs through the center of the ball and gradually stretch the hole so that it's large enough to stay open while the bread is rising. The hole needs to be about three times as wide as the wall of the ring. Place the shaped loaf on a pizza peel covered parchment paper sprinkled with whole wheat flour.

Allow the loaf to rest for 40 minutes. The loaf had spread out a little more than I wanted so I pushed it back into shape.

About 20 minutes before baking time, preheat the oven to 450 degrees F. Place a baking stone on the middle rack and an empty steam pan on the shelf below it. I've tried placing the steam pan on different shelves, and have found that having the broiler tray under the baking stone works best. If you place it above the baking stone, it doesn't allow enough steam for the bread to rise or turn brown. At least not in my oven. I also like to place the baking stone on the middle shelf. I've tried it on the bottom shelf, but it always seems to burn the bottom of the loaf before the top gets brown.>

When it's time to bake, dust the couronne with flour and slash radially, like spokes in a wheel.

Slide the couronne (with the parchment paper) onto the preheated baking stone. Pour a cup of hot water into the steam pan and close the door.

Bake for about 30 minutes, or until deeply browned and firm. If you have a smaller or larger loaf, adjust the time accordingly. Ooops! It said deeply browned, but I don't think this is what they meant. 

I probably shouldn't tell you this, but I was so exhausted this past Saturday when I made this bread that I fell asleep while it was baking. It probably only baked for about 10 minutes longer (maybe more) than it should've, but that was enough to make it to crunchy to eat. Oh well! I think it still looks beautiful.

Allow the bread to cool before cutting or eating.  Here is the finished Couronne. Enjoy! Just don't bake it too long like I did. ;o)

Happy Baking!

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