- 310g unbleached bread flour
- 255g warm water
- 60g polenta-grind cornmeal (previously: 30g)
- 20g raisins (previously: 15g)
- 7g salt
- 4g instant yeast
The night before:
Combine yeast and warm water, making sure yeast is active (it should bubble a little, the yeast will mostly dissolve, and it will smell great). Combine all dry ingredients except raisins in a bowl, mix. Add the water and yeast, stirring for a minute with a wooden spoon until all the water is absorbed. Add the raisins, stirring for another minute. Let rest for 5, then stretch and fold four times with a ten minute rest between each. You must stretch and fold - you can see the before and after below. The dough goes from a gooey, sticky mess to an almost-manageable, still sticky ball.
2 hours before baking, remove the dough and shape into a loaf on a lightly-floured work surface. Proof at room temperature, covered. Preheat oven to 500 degrees. 10 minutes before baking, remove the cover and coat an oven-safe pan (cast iron, no wooden handle) with cornmeal (normal cornmeal, not polenta-grind). Place the loaf in the pan. Right before placing it in the oven, score the dough. Put in oven, cover with another oven-safe metal thing, and reduce heat to 450 degrees. Let bake for 12 minutes, rotate the pan and remove the lid. Let bake for 12 more minutes, turn off the oven, and let the dough sit in the oven for 5 more minutes. Cool for an hour before cutting/serving.
Experiment Two, Shortbread (Longer Bake Time)
And an update on shortbread experimentation: I tried cooking for 20 minutes at 325, using the base "sweet" recipe. Much better - very flaky and hard, a tiny bit browned. I think 350 might be the optimal temperature for 20 minutes because the very center still had a bit of yellow, not white, dough.