Hi Howard !
Here's a summary of the recipe for you :
Small Light Country Loaves
4 cups all-purpose flour (I used bread flour)
2 tsp instant yeast (I used 30g fresh yeast)
2 tsp salt
2 cups cool water
Recipe states that you put all ingredients in bowl of food processor, and process mix for 15 secs. Because I was using fresh yeast, I actually made a sponge with the yeast, a pinch of sugar and some water first, then added the sponge to the flour and mixed the whole lot with the dough hook in the stand mixer.
Transfer dough to bowl, cover with plastic wrap, let rise for about 3.5 hours at room temp. Mine doubled in much less time than this, probably about 2 hours. I have this system now where I make a tower from pots and pans (inverted stock pot with smaller tall pasta pot on top), put my dough bowl on the top, and then sit it under the rangehood light. Makes a nice warm rising environment ! It would probably taste better with the slower rise though, come to think of it...
Release dough from sides with fingers and fold a few times into centre of the bowl, repeat until dough is deflated and a ball again.
Recipe at this point says to cover with plastic wrap and let rise again for 2 hours. I actually put it in the fridge at this point, because I wanted to slow the rising down as much as possible to let the flavour develop. The absolute best result we've had to date was from leaving it in the fridge for about 7 hours, but I've pulled it out after about 2 and it was still fine, and doubled in size.
Deflate dough again, then with wet hands break into 4 pieces of equal size. Pepin arranges the pieces on a cookie sheet lined with parchment paper, then covers them with an inverted roasting pan to act as a proof box, to "prevent the dough from crusting on top as it rises". 45 mins more to rise. At this point, you need to preheat the pizza stone in a 425 deg F oven. I actually put each piece of dough on an individual sheet of parchment, and covered each one with an inverted mixing bowl. That way I could slide the whole risen piece, complete with paper, onto the pizza peel and put it straight onto the stone in the oven.
Once risen, dust tops with a little flour (we also added salt), then slide onto hot bread stone. Mist oven interior with a spray bottle filled with tap water, then repeat misting after a few minutes, and bake bread for a total of 35 - 40 mins.
Sorry for the longwinded explanation...I'm a bit bread-obsessed at the moment, and the joy is in the process...
Interestingly, I googled this recipe today, and came up with the following review - it certainly does make a bread reminiscent of ciabatta, albeit a little flat round one.
http://www.books-for-cooks.com/Reviews/ ... feast.html
As we read Jacques Pepin's recipes for Small Light Country Loaves, we quickly realized that this combination of nothing more than flour, salt, water, and yeast was similar to an Italian ciabatta loaf--named for the flat, slipper-like shaped loaf the soft dough yields. We began the dough at around six in the evening, quickly mixing the ingredients and just letting them sit through nearly six hours of rising and deflating. The dough bubbled and snapped as it sat virtually breathing, a reminder that bread is life itself. By midnight, after the long rising that gives the loaf its airy texture and deep flavor, we had a puffy, golden, crusty loaf, and by breakfast there was nothing left but a bit of crust. This is good bread. Pepin offers an excellent tip--on the last rise he covers the dough with a pan to mimic a proofing box, that prevents the dough from forming a crust. It works better than a napkin or plastic wrap, which would stick and tear the dough.
Yesterday, I tried a slightly different bread recipe from the Jacques Pepin Celebrates cookbook. I found a link to the recipe here : http://www.recipelink.com/ch/2002/novem ... ates3.html
I added a second rise to this recipe, and then baked it in a black steel bread pan - delicious yesterday, and even better today as toast with vegemite !