Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Basic hearth bread

Uh oh, I can already feel my addictive brain taking over. Kneading the stretchy soft dough, the crackling as it cools and the crust starts to contract on itself, the oddly holistic appeal of making so many different things from the same three ingredients...

This is my first time making bread from a sponge (or any kind of) starter. The sponge is a very wet mixture of flour, water, and yeast, with the consistency of thick pancake batter. I always thought that the point of fermenting was just for the bread to rise, but apparently giving the yeast more time to ferment changes the flavor dramatically too -- I am kind of in love with the Bread Bible.

So baking this thing was no small task, the sponge takes 4 hours, then you knead and/or shape and let it rise 3 times for about an hour each. It was unmistakably a (country?) white bread, not really sour like sourdough or super chewy like French or Italian bread, but it was crusty and tasty (unlike some previous attempts which have tasted sort of like raw flour) and very very good for plain ol' white bread... if I do say so myself.

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