Over the past two years or so, there isn’t much that I’ve enjoyed more than making homemade bread. It is beyond a therapeutic process for me and it is something that I cannot wait to do every chance I get. If you look back throughout the history of our being, bread is one of those original food staples accompanied by plants and roasting meat over an open fire. When bread is made with a starter, it contains every nutrient and mineral necessary to sustain human life. What I’m trying to say is: BREAD IS AMAZING!
I think one of the biggest issues people have with making homemade bread is the time necessary to make it. After timing my involvement in making bread, I actually only do about 5 minutes of total work, the rest of the time is waiting for it to rise, proof and ferment a bit. I hope that comes as a pleasant surprise and makes you want to get up and go make bread, because in addition to homemade pasta there is nothing, and I mean nothing, like homemade bread. There is also a certain satisfaction you get from making homemade bread because of the time it took to achieve it. When I get my first slice after waiting for 7-8 hours for it to complete, it’s almost an emotional experience. I know that may seem odd to you, but man there really is nothing like it.
Bread has to be one of the most popular things consumed in our culture and the scary part is that I bet you’ve never taken the time out to check out the ingredients list on those said bags of bread. I mean can you pronounce half of those things? Is there supposed to be 27 ingredients in bread? The short answer is no. Bread traditionally had three ingredients in it: flour, water and salt. Now it’s jam-packed full of preservatives so that it can stay fresh on your shelf for two months. Just imagine what those preservatives are doing to your body… NOT GOOD!
However, I’m a realist and I get it, there isn’t time on a daily basis to be making bread, although I think if you are a big bread eater you should try to do it as often as possible. If you give me just one hour of your time at night including three minutes of actual work and 57 minutes of waiting, then you can have bread every day. All you would need to do in the morning is transfer the dough to your brotform or proofer, and then when you get home from work you bake it and boom! Fresh bread. Even that may be a lot, but at the very least, try and make some homemade bread every once in a while, so you can get comfortable doing it or please just read the bread labels!
When I got serious about making bread, I invested in a gram scale because honestly there is no other way to do it. I quit using ounces when my bread recipes just weren’t turning out. Since going to a gram scale, I’ve had zero fails and counting! Once you weigh out your ingredients, you add it to a bowl and mix it until it is completely combined. You can do this with a bread dough whisk or your hands; it’s up to you. From there you let it sit for 15 minutes covered and then you simply pull and fold the dough over about 5 to 6 times before covering it again and letting it sit for 45 minutes. Pull it again and then let it rest for at least 2 hours.
After the bread has rested and it has doubled in size, you need to transfer it to your brotform to help proof and mold it. A brotform is like a little wooden basket with a linen in it and that’s about it. It’s nothing overly special but it’s extremely crucial to allowing your bread to proof correctly. So, once it’s in the brotform you then let it proof for 3-4 hours or until it has doubled in size. Note that you don’t want the dough spilling over the sides of the brotform, you just simply want it to rise above it.
The last part is placing your cooking stone dish into the oven and preheating it until it gets to temperature. Once it’s there, you transfer your dough into it, cover it up, and bake it and OMG you’ve got the best bread you’ve ever had, and you were able to do it right form your house. Once you start doing it you’ll want to do it more often and then you’ll realize just how simple it is. Happy bread baking you guys!
- 525 g bread flour
- 4 g yeast
- 6 g sea salt
- 420 g water 88° to 90°
- Combine the ingredients into a large bowl and mix until it is completely combined, about 2 to 3 minutes. The dough should be a little wet. Cover with linen and let sit for 15 minutes.
- Remove the linen and stretch and fold the dough over 5 to 6 times and then cover it again and let sit for 45 minutes.
- Remove the linen and repeat the process and then let rest for 2 hours or doubled in size.
- Transfer the dough onto a clean surface dusted with flour and form the dough by cupping the outside to underneath the dough to form a cylinder like shape. Sprinkle some flour into the brotform and flip the dough over into it. Cover and let rest for 4 hours.
- With about 30 minutes left in the proofing process, add your cooking stone dish to the oven and preheat to 475°.
- After the dough is done proofing, remove the stone from the oven and flip the brotform right into the baking dish. Place the cover on top and place in the oven and bake at 475° for 25 to 30 minutes or until it is golden brown on the outside. Let rest on a rack for 30 minutes.
- Slice and serve!