Regenerative Livestyle Blog

Sharing my regeneration journey, enjoying living in harmony with nature

Making bread

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The bread in shops around is generally not healthy, is expensive and doesn’t even taste good. Some are more healthy but we can’t afford them. Coming from France where we could easily purchase a 2kg loaf of crispy organic bread for a worthwhile price, we moaned, nearly mourned! But not for long…

We started soon kneading our bread with organic flour and Surebake yeast and were happy with the results, although quite crumbly and quickly dry. We got organised and managed to buy whole 20Kg sacks of organic flour, one of white, one of wholemeal and this would last us a while. Most rewarding. We were aware and not proud of the “chemical” yeast issue but sourdough just sounded so mythical.

It is only thanks to a visitor in the know that we started our sourdough two years ago. Now our bread is just organic flour and water and so much tastier, also with a better keep. And soooo easy to make! Roll up your sleeves and just do it too. Here is how: 

To start the sourdough

In summer (min 15 degres is better to start it), mix 2 spoons of flour, a pinch of sugar and 4 spoons of water in a bowl, stir well. Cover with a plate. Leave on a shelve 2 days. Then have a look, it should start bubbling a bit. Stir, add one spoon of flour, stir. Leave another half day, add one spoon of flour, stir. This is called “feeding the sourdough”. Your mother sourdough is ready for the first lot of bread.

To keep the sourdough

From then on, just when you’ve finished kneading the bread and before putting it in the dishes, withdraw an egg size sample of dough and put in a cup, with a lid just to cover not to close, back on the shelve. Until the day before you need to make bread again. It keeps well 3-4 days. For longer periods, keep it in the fridge.

Prepare the sourdough

To wake up the sourdough for the next bread, cover the ball of dough with water. After a while when it is soaked, mix and add flour, one spoon at a time and stir, every now and then (from 3 hours to 9 hours) to feed the sourdough. It will start bubbling again. The more often you feed it, the fastest it is ready, the more virulently it will rise.

Making the bread

In a large dish (we use our pressure cooker, very stable), we put 4 cups of white and 4 cups of wholemeal flour. Make a well, put the now rather liquid and bubbly sourdough, add some water and stir with a strong fork. How much water varies with the ambiant humidity and temperature, so just have a jar of water ready to add some if needed, as well as a cup of flour in case it became too liquid. Stir with the fork until all the flour and water have merged. Then start kneading with your hands and enjoy it. It is sometimes sticky, sometimes instant. In all cases, it eventually becomes right.

Bread raising

Put aside a ball of dough for next bread, then take half the dough out of the pan, add salt and kneads it further on the floured bench. Then shapes it and put in a slightly oiled dish. Then do the same with the second half.  Then place both dishes under a towel for 12 hours (over night or during the day).

Following recipes, I used to knead again after one raising and leave to raise further. Honestly, it’s more time and the difference in result is not significant so I abandoned that double kneading practice.


Cooking the bread

Cooking temperature and time will vary with the size and shape of your dishes and your oven. Trials and adjustments. Then stick to it. Keep a bowl of water at the bottom of the oven. In our case, it is an handle-less old stainless-steel pan. Basically the oven needs to be super hot when putting the bread in. 240 degrees in our case. For 10mn. Then lower the thermostat to 160 degrees and leave for 30 mn. Then pull one bread out, knock it with an utensil, it sounds a bit hollow when it is cooked. If not cooked, place in again for 5 mn.

Keep the bread

When cooked, unmold onto a board and cover with a towel while it cools down, then wrap in the towel and store in the cupboard. It’s better to wait for the bread to be cooled to enjoy if or it breaks easily. When still hot, slice not thinner than 5mm but the next day you can make 3 mm slices for the lunch sandwiches.100_0107.JPG

Stored in the towel in the cupboard, it stays perfect for 4 to 5 days but rarely reaches this age as it is eaten before. To keep longer, I put the bread in the towel inside a plastic bad in the same cupboard. It can then stay “fresh” for a week.

Well, this is not the usual precise recipe. It is a recipe-ish. I hope it lifts the myth of the difficulty and cumbersomeness of bread making. No rocket science, no problem.  We just enjoy making and eating our bread.

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