It is uncertain times, the world is wrapt by a pandemic and sees us all being home and isolating for the good of the whole. Within this unique time there are positives, things we can be grateful for and moments to enjoy. It is time to unwind, slow down and be with family. One thing I have enjoyed seeing is the uptake of baking, though not so much the lack of flour on the supermarket shelves. Nonetheless, it has been heartening to see people bake. We too have been enjoying baking. Chelle has made her sourdough bread for a long time and I, Petal, also enjoy making bread and most recently a four ingredient bread recipe shared by a friend.
So whether sourdough is your thing or you want a quick 'n' easy recipe here we share.
Chelle's favourite sourdough recipe
Mix/autolyse: 35 minutes
First fermentation: 2.5 hours
Divide, bench rest, and shape: 20 minutes
Proof: 2.5 hours (or 1.5 hours, then retard for 2 – 16 hours)
Bake: 35 minutes
Desired dough temperature: 76F
In the bowl of a stand mixer, mix the flours, water, and starter on low speed until just combined, about one minute.
Let the dough rest (autolyse) for 30 minutes.
Add the salt and continue mixing on low or medium speed until the dough reaches a medium level of gluten development. This should only take about 3 or 4 minutes.
Transfer the dough to an oiled container (preferably a low, wide one so the dough can be folded without removing it from the container).
Ferment at room temperature (72F – 76F) for 2.5 hours, with folds at 50 and 100 minutes.
Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured counter. Divide it into 400g – 500g pieces. I usually make four 400g loaves and refrigerate the rest to use for pizza dough later. Preshape the dough pieces into light balls.
Sprinkle the balls lightly with flour, cover loosely with plastic, and let rest for 15 minutes.
Shape into batards and place seam-side-up in a floured couche or linen-lined bannetons.
Slip the couche or bannetons into a large plastic bag or cover with plastic wrap and proof at room temperature for 2 – 2.5 hours. Alternatively, the loaves can be proofed for about 1.5 hours at room temperature, then refrigerated for 2 – 16 hours and baked directly out of the refrigerator; this will yield a tangier bread with a lovely, blistered crust.
Meanwhile, preheat the oven, with baking stone, to 475F. You will also need steamduring the initial phase of baking, so prepare for this now.
Turn the proofed loaves onto a semolina-sprinkled peel or parchment. Slash each one with two overlapping cuts that are almost parallel to the long axis of the batard.
Once the loaves are in the oven, turn the heat down to 450F. For 400g loaves, bake for 12 minutes with steam, and another 15 – 18 minutes without steam. I leave the oven door cracked open a bit for the last 5 minutes of this time. The crust should be a deep brown. Then turn off the oven and leave the loaves in for 5 minutes longer, with the door ajar, to help them dry. Larger loaves will need to be baked longer.
Cool on a wire rack. Don’t cut until the loaves are completely cool, if you can manage it!
Petal's quick and easy bread
5 minutes prep, 18 hour rest, 5 minutes fold, 30 minutes rest, 55 minutes bake.
3 cups all-purpose or bread flour, more for dusting
1/2 teaspoon instant yeast*
1 1/4 teaspoons salt
1 1/2 cups warm water (about 110 degrees, like warm (not hot) bath water)
In a large bowl combine flour, yeast and salt. Add water, and stir until blended; dough will be shaggy, sticky, and quite loose. Cover bowl with plastic wrap. Let dough rest at least 12 hours, preferably about 18, at room temperature.
Dough will be dotted with bubbles. Flour a work surface- I recommend parchment paper to make this process really simple, but you can also work on a cutting board or silicone mat and then transfer your dough to a piece of parchment before baking- and place dough on it; sprinkle it with a little more flour and very gently fold it over on itself once or twice. If your dough is super loose here, like so loose you can’t even form it into a ball, it’s more of a blob, you can generously flour so it doesn’t stick to your hands. Let rest about 30 minutes.
While dough is resting, preheat oven to 450 degrees. Put a covered 6- to 8-quart heavy covered pot (cast iron, enamel, ceramic) in oven as it heats. When dough is ready, carefully remove pot from oven. Pick up parchment paper with dough (blow off excess flour sitting on parchment if you need to) and place directly in pot. Cover with lid and bake 35-40 minutes, then remove lid and bake another 10-15 minutes, until loaf is golden and browned.
Happy Baking friends! Try not eat the whole loaf all at once.