Thursday, January 14, 2010

Bread, and an apron to bake it with.

I'm afraid that my title doesn't make sense- that you can't actually bake bread with an apron. I'm afraid that my small reading population will take me too literally. I finally got around to making an apron for myself that is the same pattern as the one I made for Audrey many months ago. I spend enough time in the kitchen, I thought it was about time that I should protect my clothing from spills, splatters, hand wipes and the like.

I splurged on the fabric (with the pattern in mind) in Portland way back when we went to Oregon for Thanksgiving. Fabric is great like that- it's the gift that keeps on giving.

In the past several months I have been honing my bread baking skills. Sourdough to be exact. We don't yet have any pets, so I have resorted to calling my fermentation projects my pets. I have a kombucha baby (or mother, depending on who you talk to) and also a sourdough sponge. Neither have names and I am currently taking suggestions.

The sourdough is not 150 years old, nor did it come from the Yukon. Nic and I made it from 'scratch' by harvesting wild yeast from the air (which I just find exceedingly cool). It gets fed at least once a week, and I have adapted a time-consuming bread baking process into one that fits into my lifestyle. I've done it enough times now I don't even need a recipe (a good thing seeing as how the bread baking book was left in Ohio). This bread is on the sour end of sourdough, which is just how I like it, keeps for several days and has a really great crumb.

the crusty crust was created by adopting the no knead bread technique of baking your bread in an already-hot dutch oven, thereby steaming the bread which in turns creates a lovely crust. And with just 4 ingredients I just think it's the most beautiful thing ever. It's almost too good to eat... almost.

Sourdough bread (my apologies if you do not have a sourdough sponge. I recommend that you procure one as soon as possible).

1 c sourdough sponge
2 c bread flour
1 tsp salt
1/3-1/2 c warm water

In a mixer with a dough hook, mix all ingredients together and continue to mix on medium speed for about 5 minutes, add more water or flour as needed to obtain a firm and elastic dough.

Turn dough out into a lightly oiled bowl. Cover and let rise for at least 4 hours (I sometimes let it rise overnight). Punch dough down and shape into desired loaf style (round). Let dough rise for at least 1 hour, ideally 2 on floured surface.

Within the last 1/2 hour of the 2nd rise, preheat the oven to 450 and place a dutch oven or other oven-save lidded casserole dish into the oven.

When dutch oven is preheated, place bread with a deep 'X' to accommodate rise in the hot dish. Cover and return to oven. When 20 minutes has passed, remove lid and continue baking for at least 10 minutes, or until bread is golden brown.

Let cool for 1 hour before devouring.


Kimberly Brumble said...

Awesome! At least your pets give you tasty food and need minimal care- Tilly managed to get tape worms this week and Maude is so dumb she has trouble figuring out how gravity works- I seriously threaten to put them both in the crock pot weekly.

jtaco said...

Sarah, Brian has been dying for me to make sourdough, but I have a lot to learn...what the heck is a sourdough sponge and how do I begin to learn how to make it? I use my bread machine to mix my dough and then let it rise and use the oven to bake. Any help in the sourdough department I would appreciate! I know nothing about it except is requires the sourdough "starter" stuff, which i don't have...HELP! Brian would be SO greatful! email me :)

Aub said...

You are my hero! Can I be your apprentice? Pahhhleeeeeeaasssse?