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Classic Homemade Bread


Don't have time to maintain your sourdough starter but still want to bake? We've got just the recipe, developed especially for our freshly milled flour by our friend Lisa, a registered dietician and blogger at Home Grown Life. For many folks, it can be daunting to incorporate the fine art of fermentation, and the careful care taking of a healthy sourdough starter {especially for busy families}.

Still want to enjoy a daily loaf with the best ingredients possible? This recipe incorporates the use of instant yeast, which creates a fermentation process that mirrors that of traditional sourdough baking. For delicious, totally doable bread. 

Classic Homemade Bread: 
~ created for use with Organic GRAIN Sifted Red Spring Wheat Flour 

Sponge:
1 cup Organic Sifted Red Spring Wheat Flour
1 cup room temperature water
¼ tsp instant yeast

Final Dough:
3 ¼ cups Organic GRAIN Sifted Red Spring Wheat Flour (+/- ¼ cup as needed)
1 ¼ cups room temperature water
½ tsp instant yeast
2 tsp salt

Tools required:
Stand mixer with a dough hook
Plastic spray bottle
2 ovenproof pots with lids (a Dutch oven is ideal)

To make your sponge, mix flour, water, and yeast together until just combined. Cover tightly in plastic wrap and store in a warm corner of your kitchen for 12 hours. If you can’t find a warm spot that is draft-free, wrap your bowl with an extra towel or even a heating pad.

After twelve hours, your sponge should have had a chance to form bubbles and rise, and it should smell mildly fermented. At this point, get out a stand mixer and start to mix the final dough. Add 3 ¼ cups of flour and the water to the bowl. Mix ingredients until just combined. Cover bowl with plastic wrap and let stand for 30 minutes.

After 30 minutes, add salt, yeast, and your sponge to the mixture and mix on low-medium speed for about six minutes. The dough should be wet enough that it sticks to the bottom of the bowl, but not to the sides. Test the dough by touching it with your hands. If it feels tacky you can stop there. If it is wetter than that, add the ¼ cup extra flour and mix for another minute. Remove dough from the mixer and place into a greased bowl. Cover with plastic wrap and let rest for 30 minutes in a warm place.

First fold: Lightly dust your hands and a clean countertop with flour. Your dough should have grown in size and feel lighter than when you first mixed it 30 minutes ago. Take your dough out of the bowl and gradually stretch it into a square. To fold, gently take hold of the right side of your dough. Lightly stretch the dough upwards, shaking slightly from side-to-side to help the dough stretch. Be sure not to rip the dough in half! Fold it back down one third of the way across the dough and press it lightly down so that it sticks, but not so hard that you deflate too many air bubbles. Repeat this process of stretching and folding with the left side of the dough. Now take the side farthest away from you and repeat the same stretching and folding process. To finish, take the side closest to you, stretch as instructed above, but this time fold it all the way across the rest of the dough (not just one third of the way). Flip the dough over so you have a nice, smooth surface facing upwards. Place the dough back in the greased bowl and cover for another 30 minutes.

Second Fold: Repeat the folding process in step 5. Place the dough back in the bowl and cover once more for 45 minutes.

Shaping: Finally it’s time to shape your loaves! At this point your dough should be full of small air pockets and it should have doubled in size since your last fold. If this doesn’t sound like your dough, cover and let rest for another 30 minutes or so in a warm spot. Once your dough is ready to go, cut your dough into equal halves. Do this as best as you can without manipulating the dough too much. You don’t want to lose those air pockets! Repeat the folding process in step 5 with both balls of dough and leave them to rest on the counter for about 20 minutes.

Meanwhile, take out two bowls that can accommodate more volume than the size of your shaped loafs. You need extra space to allow your loaves to grow in size. Place a dishtowel in each bowl and dust with flour.

Final Fold: Head back to your loaves and fold one last time. Now, gently scoop the shaped loaves into their towel-lined bowls, but seam-side up this time! Cover the dough with the remaining edges of the dishtowels and place them in the fridge for a final rest of about 45 minutes.

Bake: Preheat oven and two heavy pots with lids (a Dutch oven is ideal) to 500°F. After 45 minutes in the fridge, your loaves should increase in size by at least half.* 

You can also test the loaves to see if they’re ready to bake. You can do this several ways:

  1. Lightly rest your hand on the top of the loaves. There should be some resistance, but not dense, just like a waterbed! If they feel denser in the middle than they do on the sides, they’re not quite ready. 
  2. Give your loaves a little poke! Your imprint should remain for a second or two in the dough and then gently bounce back.

Once your loaves are ready to go, remove from fridge. Remove the pots from the oven and quickly flip the loaves into their individual pots. Score both loaves with a sharp knife. You can create any pattern that you like. Finally, spray both loaves with some water from a spray bottle, and cover with the lids.

Cook for 15 minutes at 500°F with the lids on. After the first 15 minutes, turn the oven to 475 degrees and remove the lids, then cook for final 15 minutes. Your bread is done when it has a crunchy golden brown crust. You can also test the bread by flipping it over and giving the bottom a quick knock. If it sounds hollow, it’s done! If it sounds dense and wet, it’s not quite ready.

Cool the bread on a wire rack for 3 hours or covered with a dishtowel overnight if it’s getting late. Enjoy! 

From Lisa: "There is nothing that compares to the pride you feel when you pull out a freshly baked loaf of bread from the oven. My first loaf of bread was far from edible. It came out rock-solid and about the same size as the original dough. My kitchen was a sticky mess of crusted-on dough and my hair was caked in flour. I was left with more questions than I started with. Fast-forward a few years to today. I’ve baked hundreds of loaves of bread with an equal amount of successes as I have failures.

My favourite way to make bread is by using a pre-fermentation technique. Although it takes a little more time, my patience always pays off. By making a mixture of flour, water, and a small amount of yeast the night before baking day, you allow time for the yeast to break down the flour. My favourite thing about pre-fermented bread is that you get a mild sourdough flavour without the responsibility of caring for a sourdough starter. For a busy and inconsistent baker like myself, it’s the perfect compromise!"

Lisa Halliwell is a West Coast-born foodie that lives to eat. Her aim is to help people discover a clean way of eating and nourishing our bodies. Lisa works as a Registered Dietitian and finds time for food blogging at Home Grown Life in her spare time. Through her background of knowledge and her insatiable desire to pursue a whole way of living, Lisa hopes to make a small difference in the way people connect with food.

 


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