Enjoying my maternity leave in the kitchen!! As a French woman abroad, I missed bread! I missed it so much that I’ve learned to make the best bread ever! It’s not easy and it takes patience and dedication. I think I enjoy the process as much as the taste! Luckily, because the process lasts about 36 hours and the tasting barely reaches 15 minutes according to who eats it with me… “Wait, did you say 36 hours!?” Yes… It’ a whole process. So Let’s be honest, this post is not for busy and slightly (or very!) overwhelmed Moms, it’s only for bread maniacs who have some time to consecrate to make magic happen in the kitchen! And for those, don’t worry, there is a LOT of resting time.
Here’s the recipe I use. (If you are too busy to experiment in the kitchen, keep the recipe, once retired and duty-free you may want to try it…). I slightly adapted it from a recipe that had been taught to me by Yuko, amazing and talented pastry and bakery maker, owner of the beautiful and delicious Blog A Kitchen Blog (Thanks so much for your help, Yuko!)
Final starter: Scroll down at the bottom of the page to learn how to make your own Mother starter.
12g Mother starter (recipe at the bottom of the page)
60g Bread flour
290g All-purpose flour
7g Salt + 3g Water
1. In a bowl, mix 290g all-purpose floor and 200g water, cover it with plastic and let it rest for 6 to 12 hours in the fridge (this step is named Autolyse).
2. At the same time, make your final starter in a small bowl mix 12g mother starter, 60g bread floor and 35g water, cover with plastic and let it rest for 6 to 12 hours at room temperature to activate the final starter very well.
3. After 6 – 12 hours, add the active starter into the floor + water mixture. Mix by folding the dough in the bowl.
4. In a tiny glass, mix the salt and water. Let it dilute and then add it to the dough by slapping the dough on the table and folding it. Repeat for 4 minutes.
5. Bulk fermentation at room temperature. Stretch the dough and fold it 3 times. Let in rest for 30 minutes. Repeat 3 times. You will see, your dough become stronger and it won’t stretch anymore.
6. Cover and let it rise until the dough starts showing the yeast activity and becomes about a third in size.
It takes about 4 – 6 hours total (the warmer it is, the faster your yeast will react).
7. Place in the fridge for 12 – 18 hours.
8. Pull it out of the fridge and leave it out for 1 hour.
9. Shape your dough by folding the dough. Give it the shape you want (loaf, ball...) and place it onto a floured kitchen towel
10. Let it rest for 30 minutes to 1 hour (according to the temperature - the hotter, the faster).
12. Put the pizza stone (or Japanese Donabe) into the oven and preheat to 500˚F
13. Final formation for about 1 hour (according to the air temperature)
14. Score the top of the dough using a lame or a sharp serrated knife.Place the bread on the pizza stone (or in the Donabe : Very very carefully open the lid (it’s HOT!) and put the bread in the preheated Donabe, replace the lid and slip it back into the oven.)
15. Add a large oven pan with some water in it and close the oven (best result if you pour some water on brick blocks sitting on the pan) and shut the door immediately. Turn down the oven to 480˚F, bake the bread for 30 minutes.
16. Turn the heat down to 460°F and bake for 10-15 minutes (without the lid if you use the donabe – once again, be carful it’s very HOT).
17. Once the bread is nicely brown, turn the heat off and remove the bread.
18. Let it cool onto a rack.
Make your own sourdough starter!
From Yuko - A Kitchen Blog
In a mason jar, mix 30g Whole Wheat floor and 30g canned pineapple juice (unsweeted / room temperature) until all the floor is hydrated. Mark the level of the starter with a piece of tape or rubber band. Leave it at room temperature for 24 hours. Stir 2 – 3 times a day.
You probable won’t notice much change at this point.
Add 30g Bread flour and 30g pineapple juice and mix until al ingredients are evenly distributed. Mark and cover the container just like Day 1. Let it sit at room temperature for 24 hours. Stir 2 – 3 times a day.
You may notice some activity at this point.
The mixture may have risen and there might be bubbles. Regardless of whether you notice any fermentation or not, discard (or give it to a friend to cultivate!) half of the mixture (in this case 60g), and mix 30g of Bread Flour and 30g of Water (filtered / room temperature) until all ingredients are evenly distributed. Mark and cover as before. Let sit at room temperature for 24 hours.
The mixture should have at least doubled in size at this point. It seams to be sluggish and hasn’t doubled in size, allow it to sit at room temperature for another 12 to 24 hours.
Otherwise, repeat instructions for day 3.
Feed the starter (repeating day 3 instructions: discard or save it for pancakes or pizza dough!) half of the mixture (in this case 60g), and mix 30g Bread flour and 30g Water (filtered / room temperature). Feed it twice a day about 12 hours apart.
If your starter has been very active and always doubles in size (or more) between feedings, then your starter is ready to bake with! Congratulations!
You may also choose to refrigerate your starter at this point and slow down the feedings to every 3 days. If your starter still seems a little sluggish, continue with twice a daily feeding as above.