Makes 1 pound, 14 ounces dough
1 package active dry yeast (0.25 ounce)
1-3/4 cups warm (110F to 115F) filtered or bottled noncarbonated water
1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
4 to 4-1/2 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons fine sea salt
To make the dough using the fontana method, in a small bowl, dissolve the yeast in 1/2 cup of the water, stirring to mix well. Let the yeast proof for about 5 minutes, or until tiny clusters of chalky-looking bubbles appear on the surface. Stir the remaining 1-1/4 cups water and the olive oil into the proofed yeast.
Mound the flour on a work surface and make a hole in the center of the flour (this is the fontana). Sprinkle the salt over the flour. Carefully pour the yeast mixture into the hole. Using your fingers, begin bringing the flour from the inside wall of the fontana into the liquid, working in a clockwise movement as you incorporate the flour. Be careful not to break through the wall; if any liquid does leak out, catch it with some of the flour. As you continue to incorporate the flour, a shaggy, lumpy mass will form; add just enough flour to make a dough that holds together. Push the excess flour to the side with a bench knife. Now you are ready top knead the dough: Knead until you have a soft ball of dough that is slightly tacky but not sticking to your hands, about 5 minutes. Lightly spray a large bowl with olive oil spray, put the dough in the bowl, and turn to coat it with oil. Cover the bowl tightly with plastic wrap and let the dough rise until almost doubled in size, about 1 hour.
To make the dough by hand in a bowl, dissolve the yeast in the water in a large bowl and proof as directed above, then add the remaining 1-1/4 cups water and the olive oil. Begin Adding the flour to the yeast mixture, 1 cup at a time, mixing it in well with your hands. Add the salt with the third cup of flour. Add just enough flour so that the dough comes together in a shaggy mass. Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured surface and follow the directions above for kneading and rising.
To make the dough in an electric mixer, dissolve the yeast in the water in the mixer bowl and proof as directed above, then add the remaining 1-1/4 cups water and oilve oil. Follow the instructions below for mixing, kneading and rising.
When the dough has risen and is almost doubled in size, it is ready to be used in any of the recipes in this chapter.
I rarely use an electric mixer for making the Straight Dough, but each baker approaches tasks differently in the kitchen, so if you want to try making the dough in a mixer, here is how to do it.
My mixer is a heavy-duty KitchenAid stand mixer. It has a dough hook, batter paddle, and whisk attachment. I have found that the batter paddle actually works better at thoroughly mixing the dough than the dough hook, but you be the judge—try making dough with the dough hook and with the batter paddle, and see which you prefer.
Pour the amount of warm water indicated in the recipe for dissolving the yeast into the bowl of the mixer and sprinkle the yeast over the top. Attach the dough hook or batter paddle to the mixer and on low speed, mix the yeast into the water. Let the yeast proof for about 5 minutes, until the mixture has lots of chalky-looking bubbles on the top. Pour the remaining water into the bowl and stir on low speed to blend the yeast and water.
Add the flour 1 cup at a time, stirring on low speed to blend the ingredients. Add the salt with the third addition of flour. Turn the speed to medium-high and add just enough additional flour to create a dough that moves away from the sides of the bowl and clings to the dough hook or batter paddle. Stop the machine and feel the dough. It should be soft, but not sticky or gummy. If it is too sticky, add more flour, a tablespoon at a time, until the right consistency is obtained. If the dough is dry and crumbly, add a little water, about a teaspoon at a time, until the dough becomes soft and smooth.
Remove the bowl from the mixer base and turn the dough out onto a floured surface. with your hands, knead the dough for 3 to 4 minutes as described above, forming it into a ball. Lightly spray a large bowl with vegetable or olive oil spray and place the dough in the bowl. Turn the dough to coat with the oil, cover the bowl tightly with plastic wrap, and let the dough rise until doubled in size.
What You Knead
Three Simple Yeast Doughs That Turn into
Dozens of Breads, Pizzas, Savory Pies, and Desserts
by Mary Ann Esposito
William Morrow & Co.
Recipes & photos reprinted by permission.
What You Knead, by Mary Ann Esposito
More Cooking Secrets of the CIA,
from the Culinary Institute of America
This page originally published as part of the electronic Gourmet Guide between 1994 and 1998.
Copyright © 2007, Forkmedia LLC. All rights reserved.
Modified August 2007
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