Luis Meléndez (Spanish, 1715 - 1780) Still Life with Bread, Bottle, and Jug 1770
Bread, brød, brot, brood, pan, pane, paine, cheleb, хлеб, パン … however you slice it it’s the staff of life.
I have been making bread for a zillion years (nearly BC at this point). After hundreds of recipes and a million successes and failures this is the one I am sticking with.
It addresses 2 problems I have with making bread. The first … well I’m cheap about some things and it always ticked me off that I have to blow nearly a buck for a yeast packet to make bread. With this recipe a packet makes 5 loaves!!! Second is flavor. Something was missing. Yup, this has it too, complex and fragrant. The secret is that it rises for 3 days. Mix it and forget it. It uses some of the techniques of Jim Lahey’s legendary No Knead… and it was from this I started developing the recipe using the Dutch oven as my vessel. You pop it in the mixer for 8 minutes, put it in the bowl and forget it for 3 days in the fridge. The outcome is naturally sweet (yes sweet—deliciously so with no added sugar!) with a cake-like texture, a perfect crust and it is much more digestible. Wait, did I say more digestible????
Here’s the deal.
Dr Mark Sircus said “Bread was first leavened by the Egyptians around 2300 BC. They discovered that a mixture of flour and water left uncovered for several days bubbled and expanded. If mixed into unleavened dough and allowed to stand for a few hours before baking, it yields light sweet bread. This kind of natural leavening remained the basis of Western bread baking until the 20th century when bread made from commercially prepared yeast was introduced.”
Andrew Whitely wrote in the Guardian, “The so-called Chorleywood Bread Process (CBP), invented in 1961 and now used to make most industrial bread, has turned out to be a culinary and digestive disaster. Traditionally, most bread was fermented (allowed to rise) for many hours, often overnight. The CBP used high-energy mixers and a slew of chemicals to make a very white loaf in double-quick time.
Only if you let dough ferment for long enough can naturally occurring beneficial bacteria work to make the bread more digestible, nutritious and tasty. Most British bread is made too quickly for these bacteria to have a chance. Fermenting dough for six hours as opposed to 30 minutes removes around 80% of a potentially carcinogenic substance called acrylamide found in bread crusts, and long yeast fermentations conserve the highest levels of B vitamins in dough.”
Dr. Sircus revealed: “Most of us do not know that before the 1950’s most bakeries ran 2 shifts of workers because the dough was fermented throughout the night with a long and slow natural fermentation process. The very first things corporate bakers did to increase profits was to introduce the fast loaf (3 hours from start to finish), effectively eliminating the need for this second shift of workers. This seemingly innocuous cost-cutting decision would prove to have an incredible impact on our health as have a host of commercial processes in the food and agricultural areas… Only when wheat gluten is properly fermented is it healthy for human consumption. When not it is potentially one of the most highly allergenic foods we eat. It is similar to the controversy with soy which also can only be considered a health food if it is fermented long enough. Correctly fermented wheat contains 18 amino acids (proteins), complex carbohydrate (a super efficient source of energy), B vitamins, iron, zinc, selenium and magnesium, and maltase…. Sourdough [long-rise] bread rates a 68 on the glycaemic index as opposed to the rating of 100 by other breads. Foods that have low ratings on the glycaemic index are prominent in societies that tend to have lower incidence of diseases and unhealthy conditions that run rampant in our culture such as diabetes.”
I bet you didn’t know that, did you? I know I didn’t. I made this because it tasted better and found out all this remarkable stuff later. You will find that friends who can’t eat bread can eat this. Total work time is hardly 15 minutes, the rest is sit back and wait time! Enjoy!
Long Rise Bread
3 c unbleached white flour
1 ½ c rye flour **
½ c whole wheat flour
1/2 t. yeast
2 t salt (hopefully sea salt with minerals)
1 ¾ - 2 c warm water (filtered is best—no chlorine)- the dough should be a little loose
oil for the bowl
1 T flour
wheat bran for lining the bottom of the parchment
Put all the dry ingredients in your standing mixer with a bread hook. Start the machine and add the water slowly…what you want is a small attachment of dough twirling in the bottom. Once you have that let it mix for 8 minutes on low (or knead for 10 minutes).
(*I must tell you I tried it once without kneading or mixing at all and adding a little more water. It still worked but the texture wasn’t as perfect…your choice)
**I think you can mix up the proportions of flours and still get the same result... I accidentally used buckwheat flour and it still worked (but was denser and darker). The rye adds a nutty quality and isn't overpowering... you could go all white too but it would have less personality!
Remove from the mixer and turn into a ball. Put in an oiled, covered bowl (I wash the bowl and leave the cover unwashed to keep my natural yeast going--I use one of those 2 Quart covered batter bowls)place the lid on the top but don't snap down and let it sit on your counter for a few hours, then stick in the fridge.
Leave this for 3 days (I do fully open the top once a day for extra air). Do not snap the top down completely. On the 3rd day, remove from the fridge and sprinkle one side with a T of flour as you peel it out of the bowl. Roll the ball in on itself (like turning the ends of a shower cap under) for a minute and put the rough end down in a parchment-lined bowl that is about the size of your Dutch oven after sprinkling the parchment with the bran and cover. Allow it to get to room temperature and rise for a few hours.
Thanks to Gollum for hosting Foodie Friday!
My continuing thanks to all for clicking on Google Ads, hard to believe Oxford is a little over a month away! I am so excited!