I am among the many that think the smell of baking bread is the best house-perfume in the world. I also used to be among the many who viewed baking bread as some sort of mystical, distant old-timey skill that was beyond the ken and skill of the modern person.
BUT IT IS TOTALLY POSSIBLE. You don’t have to resort to fancypants candles and creepily hanging around bakeries to enjoy that homey aroma, because the skill of baking bread is attainable to anyone with a big bowl and some adventure in their hands. Your first couple of loaves may leave something to be desired (My first loaf, pictured here from 2010, was a brick of failure and sadness), but given time and practice, you can make awesome, delicious, healthy bread (and an awesome, delicious-smelling kitchen to boot!)
When I started my bread quest 5 years ago, I envisioned a good, crusty-on-the-outside-chewy-on-the-inside, 100% whole-wheat loaf that could slice thin and toast beautifully. I tried tons of different bread enhancers and recipes, combining weird flours, sugar, gluten, oil, butter, scalded milk, dried milk, honey… Though my loaves eventually started turning out better than the first (anything would have been better than the first), nothing seemed to quite make the bread I was looking for.
THIS LOAF. Every time I pull this homemade Sourdough out of the oven, I have that Indiana-Jones feeling of holding some long-sought golden relic (but there’s no giant boulders, thankfully)
This is the only recipe I use for our everyday bread. The irony is, this is the simplest recipe I’ve encountered. With just three ingredients—whole-wheat flour, water, and salt--I can make a bread that’s healthy, crusty, chewy, not too sour, and makes fantastic sandwiches. I really have no idea what its shelf life is because we’ve never let it last long enough to go bad.
I want to share this with you…it took me years to find it, and now I have it.
This next series of posts will be my adventures with learning how to capture your specific strain of wild yeast from the air (whaaat? You ask. OH JUST WAIT), craft your own sourdough starter, and make the best loaf of bread ever. There are several fabulous blogs and books that give instructions on this process (I'll be listing them at the end of each entry), but I found that I needed to read through a handful of them and make some confused mistakes in order to really understand how to do this. I will detail things as clearly as I can...maybe this version is the version for you!
Come back next week for the first in the series: Catching wild yeast!
We are a husband and wife who are trying to live simply. We are learning much as we transition from life in the city to life in the country. Come along with us, and maybe you can also learn a thing or two as well.
We love writing for these fine folks as well!
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Simple Life Homestead