Rustic bread

The ladies at the bread counter always look at you funny when you ask for fresh yeast, as though you’re asking to speak to the oracle. They disappear into the back, and eventually emerge with a lump of it in a packet. It’s weird stuff – cold and clammy, somewhere between plasticine, dough and cheese, but brown. WIth a curiously live smell.
I’ve been baking bread a long time, but recently ordered Peter Reinhart’s ‘Crust and Crumb’. Reinhart is famous for ‘The Bread Baker’s Apprentice’, a book that introduced artisanal bread baking to a wider American audience. Between that, my mom’s gift of a lovely Kitchen Aid mixer, and Kate’s threat of supplying me with 12,5 kg bags of flour, I’ve set about learning to make decent bread.
Mixing with the KA was too scary – I ended up with three completely gummed-up batches of dough. I couldn’t tell if it was the mixer or the instant yeast. Either way, I’ve reverted to good old hand kneading, which I enjoy anyway – and instant yeast.
Here’s one of the first attempts: a French boule, made with a pate fermentee:

The amazing thing about a pate fermentee (pre-ferment) is that you only have to make it once. After that, you chop it up and add it to your bulk dough mix, and cut off a piece and freeze it for next time. Each respective ‘build’ simply adds to the character of the fermented yeast. This dough was started on Sunday, and the loaves baked on Monday and Tuesday. More to come soon!

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About Lisa

I live in South Africa with my husband and two small children, doing things, thinking about things and sometimes writing about them.
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One Response to Rustic bread

  1. Gwenn Segura says:

    It all looks extremely good to me Lisa….. scrumptious even! There’s little nicer than the smell of home-baked bread apart perhaps from savoring it or getting the aroma of freshly-ground coffee percolating to accompany it……. mmm!

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