September 27th, 2016
From The Fun of Baking Bread! by Andrea Schmidt
Pre-ferment (the Night Before): This important step literally takes 1 minute: the night before baking, combine 1 cup of flour (130g), 1/2 cup of room temperature water (113g) & 1/4 teaspoon of instant yeast in a container with enough extra space for the mixture to double. Mix everything together and place a loose-fitting lid on top.
The Next Day: Exploring: Go to the fridge and / or pantry with your child(ren) and decide together what kind of liquid and/or mystery ingredient(s) you will use to make your imagination loaf. What are some of your child’s favourite foods that might make an interesting addition to a loaf of bread (e.g., raisins, chopped pear, avocado)? Within reason, stay open to your child’s suggestion –they may be on to something! This part of the process can be a learning opportunity – for both of you!
Mixing: In a large bowl, combine the pre-ferment with the liquid, yeast, flour, salt and the mystery ingredients you have come up with. Stir well.
Developing the dough: Taking plenty of breaks, continue stirring the dough with a wooden spoon, spatula and/or your hands (oiled) – in the bowl or out of the bowl – off and on for 10 minutes or more. You don’t need to work too hard with this – this slow process can take up to 30 minutes – developing the dough on and off.
Fermenting & Folding: Lightly cover the bowl, and let the dough rise for an hour or so. Every 20 minutes or so, give the dough a gentle “fold” with oiled hands. Repeat two or three times.
Shaping: Shape however you like! Simply work your dough into a shape that is pleasing to you. Have fun!
More Fermenting: Place the shaped dough on a baking sheet or in a bread tin (protected by parchment or silicone mat) and leave it to proof for an hour or so.
Scoring & Spraying: Slash the loaves on an angle a few times, and spritz with room temperature water.
Baking: Preheat the oven to 400°F. Once the oven is fully pre-heated, bake the dough for 15 minutes, and then turn the oven temperature down to 350°F. Continue to bake for 20–25 more minutes.
Carefully move the loaf (or loaves) onto a cooling rack, waiting at least 30 minutes to slice. Enjoy!