How to make bread? Why that $$$

Sourdough bread has appeared by chance around for thousands
of years. Some leftover porridge was left out in the sun, and as luck
would have it, a crust formed as it dried out. Then, due to the action
of fermentation, the crusted porridge rose!
I’ve accidentally done
exactly this when camping. A crust formed, it rose, and, viola!
Delicious! It’s entirely possible that this was how bread originally
came about. So bread is the result of a happy accident – and centuries
of refinement give us all manner of variation on the theme. From those
crusty Italian loaves to the dense rye breads of Europe, and all manner
of styles in between – they’re all wondrous creations, perfectly suited
to the culture which evolved them.

But when it comes to
flavour, flexibility and simplicity, nothing beats the original method –
sourdough has as many variations in itself as there are human cultures.
And that’s the point, and the pun – sourdough is all about culture,
only not the human kind, but a more fundamental one – bacterialogical.
Sourdough
bread comes from a bacterial and yeast culture; a micro environment
made up of airborne yeasts which have been transformed by the process of
controlled fermentation to become a fantastically complex living thing.
This living thing, something I often refer to as a pet you keep in your
fridge, is also more commonly known as a ‘starter’, or ‘mother’, or
‘ferment’, or any one of a number of other names. My own ‘starter’ is
getting on for about 20 years old now, though it has been refreshed with
other starters which are much older.
I’m going to show you a method
where you can easily culture your own ‘starter’. Then, I’ll show you how
to make fabulous bread using it, without using anything more complex
than a whisk – and even that’s optional. Of course, you’ll need an oven
and a fridge, and some easily obtained containers, and maybe a couple of
loaf tins. But that’s about it. My method doesn’t even require much
kneading. It couldn’t be simpler. I’ve been using variations of it
commercially and domestically for about 20 years, and I’ve made
literally millions of loaves of every shape, size, colour and flavour.
It really is an incredibly flexible method, and once you get the hang of
it, you can play till your heart’s content inventing new ways and
recipes.
I’ve decided to break this method into three further
articles, because there’s too much to digest in one hit, and because
there’s three stages to the process. They are:
1/. Starting a starter,
2/. Making some dough, and
3/. Baking the Bread.
So
stay tuned. You’ll need to print out all three future articles before
you get started, and then work your way through each one. Oh, and don’t
be too precious about them – there’s plenty of flexibility in the
method. Measurements are not that important – process and observation is
what it’s all about.

More information

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