As mentioned previously, in another life I was a bread baker. To this day, the crackle from a fresh loaf is enough to give me heart palpitations of pure joy. Try slathering salted butter on a slice of this when it's still warm; and then – really – what more do you need out of life?
I've been fussing with this recipe since February. The recipe is in metric – thus you need a scale. Note: this is a whole grain wheat bread recipe. For those who don't eat wheat, here is the ultimate non-grain recipe.
This makes one good-sized loaf, baked in a large cast iron frying pan (or use whatever pans you have : )
2 EASY (but important) STEPS to do THE NIGHT BEFORE:
Step 1) Combine & set aside:
- 250g room temperature water
- 250g whole grain wheat bread flour (you can find this at most health food stores.. You really do want to use bread flour)
- 2 g instant yeast (not active dried yeast)
The resulting mush is called a "pre-ferment" – not only does it add extra flavour to the bread, but it also increases the shelf life, & makes it easier for the body to digest, lowering the glycemic index.
Step 2) Combine & set aside
- 300g whole grain bread flour (I use a mixture of organic whole grain wheat (specifically bread flour) and kamut (a cousin of wheat)
- 250g water or orange juice
The resulting mush is a soaker. Soaking the flour helps the resulting dough to have the strength it needs to be the best it can be.
THE NEXT DAY:
Step 3) Mix the previous 2 bowls of mush together and add
- 12 g of sea salt
- 1/2 tsp of cardamom and 1 tsp cinnamon
Step 4) Then mix and add:
- 2 eggs
- 8g of yeast (you don't want to add the salt and the yeast together because salt kills yeast)
Step 5) Mix everything together but no need to knead or anything like that. Just make sure it's all combined well together. It will be a wet dough.
Step 6) Let the dough sit out at room temperature for 40 minutes or so (called "proofing").
Step 7) Preheat the oven to 425F.
Step 8) Pour the dough into a large cast iron frying pan (or pans) and let is sit for another 30 minute or so.
Step 9) Bake the dough for 45min–1 hour
When you are certain it's done, keep baking it for another 5 minutes.
Step 10) Get it safely onto a rack to cool off, and do not cut into it for at least 20 minutes (for real! The starch and/or protein molecules need to congeal).
Enjoy!! : )