From amount of bread posts on here, I think it’s fairly clear that I have a thing for bread.
Not only bread though, all carbohydrates.
The thing that is not very known though is that I had a very very deep rooted fear of baking bread.
It all first started when I found out about how the bread in stores is actually frightfully unhealthy and that “brown bread” is actually regular white sandwhich bread with “caramel colour.”
It’s healthy they said.
Har har har.
So, the first time I baked bread was this rainy, cold afternoon when the craving to eat warm, soft delicious bread was all I could think of and I happened to find a very promising recipe that told me that I could bake “fresh warm rolls that even a beginner (me) couldn’t mess up and that I could have real, healthy bread in two hours!”
Obviously, I was sold.
What followed was me, hungry and sleep-deprived( because for some reason I cant sleep in when it rains, no it’s not relaxing, Mother Nature, thanks for deciding to throw ROCKS on my roof when I’m trying to sleep ) , grabbing the ingredients and some extremely expired yeast and baking “Parker House Rolls”.
They didn’t turn out, obviously.
The first sign should have been the fact that the bread refused to rise, but well, I was hungry and bread-wanty.
The rolls turned out to be The Bricks Of Parker House over Parker House Rolls, which was a fail.(clearly)
But they made very good hockey pucks.
I’ve come a long way since my brick…erm….roll baking days and have learned to check the date on the yeast packets.
I’ve come to love bread baking and love trying out different kinds of bread. Right now, I’m obsessed with working with the sourdough starter!
So tangy! So delicious!
Truth be told, this isn’t the fastest bread you’ll ever make.
You’ll have to wait a week for the starter to turn tangy but trust me! It’s worth the wait.
Ooh ooh! You know what else is worth the wait? TOASTING THE SOURDOUGH AND MAKING CROUTONS FOR TOMATO SOUP AND THEN USING THE SAME BREAD FOR GRILLED CHEESE. YES.
So anyway, here it is:
Crusty, delicious sourdough.
Based on Five and Spice blog’s Perfect Crusty Loaf
- 200 g (1 cup) recently fed sourdough starter ( I like using a starter that’s been fed and atleast a week old)
- 400 g (3 cups) flour
- 11 g (1.5 tsp) salt
- 300 g (1 1/3 cup warm water( not too hot and too cold, it should be comfortable, like bath water)
- extra flour for dusting
- In a mixing bowl, stir together all your ingredients till combined. It should be pretty sticky and wet. On a well floured surface ( not too much, a lightly floured surface should do. You don’t want to incorporate more flour into the bread)
Then, knead softly and roll out into a rough rectangle. Now fold in the left side and then the right, like you would fold a letter: Right to left then quarter turn and right to left again. Shape into a rough ball GENTLY and place in a well greased bowl till about doubled in size. Make sure that your bread rests in warm, draft free corner.
- Set a timer for one hour. After an hour, wet your hands well to keep them from sticking, gently take the dough out of the bowl and carefully stretch it and shape it like you did before( the letter folds) . Set the timer for another hour, and after that repeat the stretch and fold. The dough should get easier and less sticky to work worth. Set your timer for one more hour. Repeat the stretch and fold process and then form into a roughly shaped ball and place in a greased
- Take another mixing bowl bigger than the the size of the bread dough, and grease it. Place the dowl in it and over it with cling film and place in the refrigerator
- The next day (or two), an hour before you are ready to bake the bread, take the dough out of the refrigerator. Let it sit at room temperature for an hour, at this point it should looked puffed, and if you poke it, it should leave a little indent, ifit doesn’t , let it rise for another 30-60 minutes or more. Mine bread always takes a good hour. Now ,while the dough stands at room temp. ,preheat your oven toits highest setting. Place a dutch oven or a ceramic pot with a fitted lid inside, basically anything that’ll allow steam to be generated will do. Put a good layer of cornmeal or flour cutting board, and gently turn the bread dough out onto it. Use a very sharp knife to make as deep X on top of the bread. Note that if you don’t have a dutch oven you can bake it like regular bread, but in the last five minutes of baking toss in a cup full of ice cubes and shut the door. This’ll give it a nice crust too.
- once the oven is heated,, take the Dutch oven out and put your bread it, ensuring the cornmeal side’s down. Cover the Dutch oven, and put it back in the oven. Bake the bread in the pot with the lit for about 25 minutes then take the top off and bake another 10 minutes or until it’s golden brown and looks crusty too. Then remove from the oven, and turn the bread out onto a cooling rack. Allow to cool completely. It’s really important for it too cool completely because you don’t want to interfere with the baking process. Enjoy!