What do you do when you have a little dough? Why....you make an Epi of course. If you don't know what an Epi is, no worries, I had no clue whatsoever until recently. It's bread that is shaped like a wheat stalk. It's beautiful, impressive and not difficult at all.
You start out with a 1/2 lb. ball of dough, about the size of an orange (I used the whole wheat "Master Recipe" from the Healthy Bread in Five Minutes a Day cookbook. Recipe can be found ----> here <----) Form the dough into a ball and gently stretch it into an oblong shape and then fold into thirds (the way you'd fold a letter)
Then pinch the "letter" closed
This is beneficial to the outcome of the shape of the dough. although my ends should be more tapered. As you can see, I still have to work on mastering this technique.
Gently stretch the dough into a thick rope, about 1 1/2" in diameter. I then placed my dough onto some parchment paper so that when I transfered it onto the stone, it wouldn't get distorted and ruin my "wheat stalk" effect. Anyways....Loosely cover the rope with some plastic wrap and allow to rest for about 40 minutes.
Now is the time to preheat your oven to 450' and heat up your baking stone for about 30 minutes.
Onto the fun part....sprinkle your rope with some flour and get out some kitchen shears and start snipping away...
I tried to keep the scissors at a 45' angle. As I snipped, I'd use the scissor blade base to "carry" the "stalk" off to the side, alternating sides. Be careful not to snip all the way through....maybe about 1/4" from the bottom.
Slide your loaf onto the stone (including the parchment paper). Pour a cup of hot water into a roasting dish or broiling pan that's somewhere in your oven...(below, above...whatever). This will create steam and make for a wonderful crust.
You're going to bake the loaf for about 25 minutes. Set the timer for 17 minutes. At that time, slide the parchment paper out, leaving the loaf in. Continue baking for another 8 minutes, until nice and brown and firm.
Now tell me.....if you saw this served at a dinner party, wouldn't you be impressed? And check out the inside
It's just so fluffy! (I'm sure there's a proper term for that LOL).
Oh, and btw...this was one of the assignments from our HBin5 group
Lead fearlessly by Michelle over at BigBlackDogs.net
Soo...this loaf went pretty quickly. Tasted great with just butter. I love the little wheat stalks. They're perfect for breaking off individually. I made a little ham salad and used one of the stalks for a quick little sammy....perfect for lunch.
FYI: For this loaf I did use white whole wheat flour for the milder flavor.