Tuesday, August 24, 2010

A Traditional English Round Bread - Farl

A few posts ago I talked about a 'peasant' bread called Crusty Cob. One of the features of this bread was the fact it is baked on the floor of the great stone ovens used in village bakeries. This bread, called Farl, is similar but instead of forming it into loaves, or a boule (a round ball of dough) it is always baked as a round. Also, the Farl is slashed, just before placing it in the oven which gives it its typical appearance of being striped. This is accomplished by dusting the bread and then slashing. The rising dough stretches, and produces the stripes.

The Farl is another village bread from England that is very old and traditional. Like the Cob, it too, is a bottom bread. Enjoy!!

Here is what you'll need:
500g (1lb 2oz) bread flour
1 Tbs (15g) salt
30g (1oz) yeast
60g (2 1/2oz) butter, at room temperature
300ml (1/2 pint) water

Here is what you'll need to do:
1. Place all the ingredients in a large bowl and mix vigorously for about 4 minutes until you get a smooth, elastic dough. 
2. Place the dough on a lightly floured surface and knead again for about 5 minutes more. Then let the dough rest, covered in a warm place for about an hour.
3.After rising, dump the dough out onto the floured surface again, shape into a ball and then place on parchment paper on a baking tray. Gently flatten the dough into a disc about 5cm (2in) thick. Let the dough rise for about an hour.
4. Preheat the oven to 220C (425F). Dust the dough ball with flour, then starting at one side of the dough make a series of slashes radiating from a single point. 
5. Bake in the oven for about 30 minutes and cool on a rack.
6. Yum!!

* If you want to more closely approximate the look of the traditional bread, use a baking stone placed on the bottom of the oven. Bake the bread directly on the stone either right on the stone, or by placing the bread with the tray on it. 

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