So I guess I should first apologize for the slight absence of posts since finishing our ottoman. I can assure you we didn’t entirely drop off the face of the earth, rather our laptop kinda dropped off the face of the counter, bounced a little and thereafter refused to switch on… eek :S. That is not to say we haven’t been doing lots of fun projects in the meantime, we have just had a bit of an obstacle to overcome in order to actually share it with you lovely people.
There are in fact a number of up sides to owning a slightly less than functional laptop. All those hours we usually spend reading awfully important things on the internet (mostly looking at pictures on pretty blogs) have suddenly been freed up to complete some projects around the house. A number of these are probably far too boring and domesticated to share in detail; hanging pictures, hanging coat hooks, replacing toilet seats, replacing bathroom light fittings which rather worryingly had started to smell a bit like burning as you showered each morning :S, not to mention some top secret projects we can’t really share at the moment as they are headed in the direction of our families at some point in the future, who have a habit of checking up on what we post!
But what I totally can share today is a delicious bread recipe. Whilst I have shared a few bread ideas here in the past, they are usually creations which come together in an afternoon. But, owing to the fact I had a little more time on my hands than usual I decided to seize the moment and make something which took shape over a couple of days, making a dough which used a starter, or biga (that’s the technical term apparently) rather than just relying on yeast to work its magic and churn out a loaf in a couple of hours.
This recipe starts by mixing together a starter dough which you can leave for a few days to ferment and grow. The result is a loaf of bread which is certainly tastier and much closer to an artisan loaf rather than the sliced gunge you get from the supermarket. Perfect! 😀
So on with the recipe..
For the dough starter:
1/8 teaspoon yeast
6 tablespoons water
1/2 cup plain flour
1/3 cup rye flour
1/4 teaspoon salt
For the dough:
3/4 cup water
1 3/4 cup plain flour
3/4 teaspoon yeast
the starter from above
3/4 teaspoon salt
1) Get things started – Making the dough starter couldn’t be easier. Its simply a case of stirring all the starter ingredients in a small bowl together until they form a sticky dough. Mix it around for a couple of minutes until it just starts to pull away from the sides of the bowl, before covering with some lightly oiled cling film and leaving to work it’s magic and double in size, about 6 hours or overnight.
2) Put your feet up – After the starter has doubled in size it is ready to use. However, if like me you are not exactly raring to go baking bread at the crack of dawn, it will happily sit in the fridge for 2 – 3 days before use. If anything a little longer to mature can only help make your final loaf of bread more tasty! If you do decide to leave your starter for a couple of days just make sure you let it sit out of the fridge for about an hour to warm up slightly before you move on.
3) Make some dough – Finally it’s time to make your bread dough. First place your dough starter in the bowl of your stand mixer then add the water flour and yeast and stir for a minute to form a very rough dough. Cover and leave to rest for 20 minutes.
4) A little bit kneady – Sprinkle the salt over the dough (leaving the salt out until this stage makes sure it doesn’t do any nasty things to the yeast) and knead for 5-10 minutes until smooth and slightly sticky. Scrape the dough into a lightly oiled bowl cover and leave to rise for 1 1/2 hours or until doubled in size.
5) Shape things up – turn out the dough onto a lightly floured surface and shape into a smooth round ball. If you are a baker with an awfully well stocked kitchen you can now turn out your dough upside down into a banneton (that is the proper baskety thing you can use to rise dough in). For the rest of us, a neat cheat is to line a colander with a floured dish towel to use in its place. Rising the dough like this helps keep that nice round shape which can sometimes slump a little when just left to rise free standing. Lightly cover and leave the dough to rise for another hour.
6) Bake – Finally it’s time to bake! Preheat your oven to 230 ºC (450 F) and lightly oil a baking sheet. Carefully turn out the dough onto the baking sheet and if you fancy make some arty slashes across the top with a sharp knife or razor blade.
Finally place in the screaming hot oven for 30 minutes, lowing the temperature to 205 ºC (400 F) for the last 15 minutes. When its ready, the bread will sound hollow when lightly tapped on the top and bottom.
Boom! tasty bread made 😀 Although freshly baked bread always leaves me with a little problem… what do you do with all that amazingly tasty bread once you’ve already eaten so much your tummy is full? OK admittedly not the worst problem in the world to have. You could always squeeze in more bread and butter, toast and jam (tasty jam recipe here), with soup or in a delicious sandwich …… actually I’m getting hungry just thinking about it.
Oh and as ever the recipe can be found in a nice printer friendly format right here!