Saturday, September 26, 2015

Bread, again...

I see that as of this moment, I have 54 different posts under the "Bread" category.  I have had a love affair with making homemade breads since 1972.  Yes.  43 years!  A dear friend showed me how to make whole wheat bread back then, and with very few exceptions, we've been eating exclusively homemade bread ever since.  We really depended on it (and still do) when the children came along and were growing up.  If someone quipped "We ain't go no bread!" it meant - there's nothing to eat!  At one time, we would bake 15 loaves a week and all on one day.  One of our daughters, when she was 12 years old, was able to do that all by her little self.  Pretty amazing.  By the way, she grew up to become my "garden fairy."

A while back, I purchased a copy of The Art of Baking with Natural Yeast  by Caleb Warnock and Melissa Richardson.  My garden fairy actually helped me understand how to make the bread in that book.  I got a sourdough starter from Caleb.  You can get some of his starter, for free, by going to this link: . It is wonderful stuff.  Vigorous, easy to care for, and it really doesn't make your bread sour if you feed the starter often enough. Their book is an education, but you don't have to buy one to get the starter.  Get one!  You won't regret it!

This will not be an exhaustive presentation on how to make bread, but I want to show you my "everyday bread" that I make now.  I usually only make 2 loaves at a time, let them cool, slice them and freeze one.  The other, we enjoy, and after a few days I keep it in the fridge so it won't get moldy, and we use it for toast.  It is so good.  I can't even tell you!

Here is the basic recipe and a few pictures.

My Everyday Bread - 9/26/2015 - 2 loaves

In the morning, get your starter out of the refrigerator, feed it, and let it sit all day on the counter.
7:30 p.m. - time to mix up the bread.

In a bowl, combine the following:
1/2 cup starter (then put your starter back in the fridge.)
2 1/2 cups lukewarm water
2 teaspoon sea salt
1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
1/4 cup honey
4 cups whole wheat flour (I keep mine in the freezer, so I have to get it out ahead of time to let it warm up.)
"enough" unbleached white bread flour (this is where you need to know, basically, how to make bread.)

Mix it all up well, adding the bread flour as needed until it seems right.  Then pour it onto a well-floured surface and knead for about 6 minutes, adding bits of bread flour to keep it from sticking.  When it is ready, and you slap it, it's kind of like a baby's bottom.  :)  Not that I go around slapping babies.  But you know what I mean, surely.

Wash out your bowl and dry.  Pour a little more EVOO in there and coat the bowl.  Then put the dough in, and turn it over so the top will be oiled.  Cover tightly with plastic wrap, and let it sit on the counter overnight.  I get up about 6 a.m. and by then, it looks like this:

 I pour a little bit of olive oil on my bread board (or the counter, if that is what you have) so the dough won't stick.  Pour the dough onto your work surface and divide it in half.  Form into two loaves and place them in 2 well-buttered bread pans. Cover them with the plastic wrap that was on your bowl so it will have a little oil on it and not stick to the loaves.  If it doesn't have enough, add a little oil.
Let the loaves sit on the counter until they have raised to "double", whatever that is.  Here is what it looks like in my pans:
Bake in a pre-heated 350 F oven for 40 minutes.  Here is what it looks like in the oven after the first 10 minutes:
Remove from oven and turn your loaves onto a cooling rack.
You can see they are not exactly the same size.  That is ok.  It won't affect the taste.  Being sourdough, it has better keeping qualities than bread made with commercial yeast.  I hope this is helpful and that you will try it.

When I was a young teenager, I wanted to learn to make bread.  I didn't have anyone to show me, as my mom was hospitalized with Tuberculosis for a year at the time.  I was 16 years old.  I don't know what cookbook I looked in, but I tried.  It was a dismal failure.  It would have made splendid door stops.  Sigh... I never tried again until I was 23 years old and my friend showed me what to do.  It may sound a bit silly, but that experience when I was 16 was very disappointing and learning to make it successfully later meant a lot to me.  Back then, of course, it was just me and my husband, and I would make bread for us once a week.  It was 100% whole wheat bread - from scratch.  Good stuff.

Just in case you don't know this - sourdough bread - REAL sourdough bread is easier to digest and people that are gluten sensitive can often eat it without any ill effects.  Caleb believes that if we always soaked and soured our grains that we would not have "metabolic syndrome."  Whether or not that is true, I have no idea, but I do have a couple of friends who struggle terribly with their weight, and both of them have a history of being sensitive to eating very much wheat.  There could be a connection.  For such individuals, according to Caleb, the problem develops over time and eventually overwhelms their body's defenses.  Just something to think about.

I wish you were here and I could give you a slice of this wonderful bread with some butter and honey on it.  You would be so happy!


  1. Would substituting einkorn or tiger nut flour work?
    Love your site.

    1. I do not believe that tiger nut flour would work in this recipe. einkorn might, but since this is a very very long soak before it is baked, the gluten has been pre-digested, and it has a very small glycemic index. Caleb Warnock, who wrote the book on baking with natural yeast believes that if people would use natural yeast, they would also avoid metabolic syndrome, assuming, of course, that they were eating natural, nutrient dense whole foods, and not processed foods.


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