Friday, May 20, 2011

New fermentation-based adventure: bread

Readers, I have just moved into a new apartment in Nashville for the summer, and even though the brewing has been temporarily put on hold, I have been continuing on with the research, and have even picked up a new and excellent adventure in fermentation--bread.  I have made bread before, and it was actually one of the projects that I did before starting brewing that made me want to get into brewing in the first place.  I made this bread recipe with a new method that I stumbled upon in this food blog, wherein one makes a large batch of wet, loose dough, puts it in a large container, and allows it a nice long fermentation in the refrigerator.  A major plus of this method is that it requires no kneading whatsoever, and the result is delicious, crusty artisanal bread that can then be varied to whatever recipe one chooses.  I started out with the basic recipe, and it went incredibly well.  We only had bleached, pre-sifted flour for this recipe, which is the opposite of what is recommended, but things still went very well and will undoubtedly go even better next time!  Here are some pictures:

After (mmm):

Another cool thing about this bread is that after you bake the first loaf (which you can really do within about 3 hours of making the dough), you just put the rest of the dough in the container back into the fridge, where the flavors develop further and sort of ambiently improve the flavor of the bread as time goes by (sort of like a lambic or other spontaneously fermented beer!).  Then, when you've used all the dough, you mix up another batch without even washing your container, and the bits of leftover yeast continue to influence the overall flavor similarly to a sourdough starter.  Pretty cool.

Sounds almost too good to be true, right?  Well wait 'til you give this bad boy a taste.  It reminds me of the delicious, crusty bread that they bring fresh to your table with olive oil at an Italian restaurant.  Mmmm...

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