Having two bread recipes out of the six that I finished for this blog, does indeed suggest that I am a fan of the baked loaf. Indeed I am. Bread is so complex in nature, yet so readily available. Humanity has not been able to survive without bread for thousands of years.
The first recorded recipe for baked bread was found painted on the tomb wall of a Woman (extremely rare in those days for a woman to have a painted tomb wall) she was called Senet, and she must have been a true gourmand. The recipe dates to the years 1958/ 1914 BC. the function of the highly detailed drawing for bread making has nothing to do with instructing the household cook,but to help provide our friend Senet with great bread for the rest of eternity. What a wonderful thing indeed. Hope Senet is eating bread everyday, where ever she might be.
Its not a surprise that all ancient bread recipes make use of naturally found yeasts, to harvest your very own batch of yeast fungi from the air that happens to be around you at the time and place of baking is almost as magical as conception itself, no loaf of sourdough is the same. How romantic is that.
For those of you who did make the mother or intend to do it , I am giving the recipe for a fool proof sourdough loaf, that looks and tastes like any of the superb loaves you get from expensive bakers. It has a crunchy crust and a firm tangy interior, its not the usual home baked loaves that resembles more cake then it does bread.
I urge you to try it, and eat it with lashings of butter or jam, or both on the same piece, which is obviously the way this little glutton likes it.
Ingredients for one loaf.
- 500grams strong bread flour
- 130grams mother (see cooking project No.1 on the site)
- 400ml water at 5°C
- 10grams fine salt.
In a large bowl place the flour, put the quantity of salt at a specific corner of the flour, do not mix it in, remember you are relying on natural yeasts that can very easily be killed with salt, so just keep the salt away from the mother at the start.
Make a well in the centre of the flour and add the mother as well as 300ml of the water at once, start mixing and add the remaining 100ml of water gradually until you have a soft dough that can be kneaded for a long time.
Knead the dough for 6minutes, don’t worry you will regain those extra calories you lost whilst kneading when you have your face stuffed in bread and butter. So Fear not.
Shape the dough into a ball and place in a bowl covered with a cotton cloth and let rise for one hour in the fridge.
Remove dough from the fridge and sprinkle with flour and give it a second rise, somewhere warm this time around 20 degrees for 3hours.
To Shape the loaf, roll it again into a neat ball, and place it in a proofing basket, now I don’t have one of these so I used a common household pasta strainer, it gave the loaf the prettiest of patterns. Jungle Style. Leave to prove for an additional 4 hours. Go out and have a coffee with a friend at this point, by the time you return home this process will be ready. I am a bright gal after all.
Bake for 40 Minutes with the steaming tray, then allow another 10 minutes without the steam.
That’s it 50 minutes later, you will have lovely bread out of the oven, happy faces all around, and full stomachs, with yes so much effort and patience but so little money, exactly the opposite of what happens in our everyday economy.
Baking bread is the best exercise in anti capitalism you can perform at home , it is the most rebellious yet so unequivocally romantic forms of cooking there is.