I don’t care what anyone says about the lack of nutritional value in white bread. Don’t talk to me about it.
There really is nothing comparable to fresh, crusty, warm bread that you spent 4 days making. Nothing. If you want your house to smell amazing, do yourself a favor and bake some bread.
Yes, I made this with my hands. I never thought I could produce such a beautiful baked bread. Hell, I didn’t even think I could bake.
But somewhere in between adding my sourdough starter to flour and water,
and kneading the dough,
I realized something.
It was quiet, right in middle of the day with the sunshine streaming though my window. And, as I kneaded my dough, forcing it into elasticity, I was relaxed. I was truly happy, watching poofs of flour rise off the dough and turning it over and over again on itself. There was something soothing about the way the dough felt in my hands, soft and pillowy, filled with air pockets from the yeast.
Maybe I should bake bread every day to ease my stress. This was very therapeutic for my mind and soul.
I didn’t even care when this came out of the oven that it wasn’t very “sour.” It was still the best bread I’ve ever made. The starter probably just needed to ferment longer.
“Sourdough” Bread (from The Joy of Cooking)
- two cups sourdough starter
- 4 to 4.5 cups bread flour
- 1 3/4 cup water
- 1 tbls salt
Mix all of the above ingredients until a dough forms. It should be sticky to the touch but not stick to your fingers. Knead the dough until you achieve elasticity. You should be able to stretch a piece of dough out thin enough to see light through it.
Place the dough in an oiled bowl and turn over once, to coat the whole ball with oil. Cover with a kitchen towel and let dough rise 3 hours in a warm place, 70-ish degrees or 6 hours in a cool place. I put mine in the fridge since I was going to hang out with the lovely Kalene.
Punch the dough down after its first rise and divide it half. Form the two halves into your desired shape. Mine are round. Let dough rise again until double in size, about 2 hours.
Crank your oven up to 450 and brush more oil on top of the loaf. I baked mine in my Le Creuset and got excellent crust results, but there’s lots of different ways to bake bread! The Joy of Cooking suggested putting a pan of water in the oven with the bread so that the steam would help form the crust.
Not very many words for hot, fresh bread with butter on it. Happiness? Heaven? Only could be tied by dipping it in high quality olive oil.