I started baking this out of necessity.
Moving from Bondi to Mackay created a number of culinary and dietary challenges for me. Used to boutique bakeries lining the streets at home, where I was spoiled for choice, I found a land up here baron of bread. Of course there were the big chains, Coles and Woolies and even Baker’s Delight, none of which really catered to my doughy needs.
This recipe uses a fermented starter, which brings with it a wealth of health benefits. The wild yeast reduces the content of gluten in the flour and also contains probiotics, such as lactobacillus; these reduce or neutralise the Phytic Acid in the wheat, increasing the availability of nutrients and vitamins.
Good gut health is key to overall health and wellbeing and is now known to have strong ties to mental health. So, it is important to add plenty of pro and prebiotic as well as fermented foods to maintain good gut health.
This is a dense and crunchy bread, that is tasty enough on its own with some extra virgin olive oil or some butter.
The starter takes several days, however you can make bread in the first few days with the starter you remove, by adding 7g of yeast at step 1. The yeast will kill most of the wild yeast from the starter, but the starter will still add flavour to the bread.
100g organic flour
100g filtered water
(note: you will need 50g of flour to feed ongoing)
Mix water and flour together in a glass jar or cup, leave loosely covered with cling wrap or cheese cloth for 24hours
Remove 100g of starter and add another 50g of flour and 50g water – continue this for 3 days, then continue every second day.
The starter should bubble and have a sour smell, it will also form a liquid at the top, I tip this out but others mix then remove 100g.
650g Organic Flour
300mL Filtered Water
2 tablespoons Extra Virgin Olive Oil
14g Himalayan ground salt
Mix starter and 300g of flour with 300g of warm water and half of the salt in a glass bowl. Whisk or stir with a wooden spoon until combined, set aside for 3hrs to rise. (I turn the oven on to 40c to begin with, to assist in keeping the sponge warm.)
Mix 350g flour with rest of salt into the sponge. On a floured surface knead dough for 10min. Coating the bowl with olive oil, replace the dough into the bowl to rise again for 3hours.
Preheat oven to 200c and prepare a tray of water to sit under the baking bread.
Pat the dough to remove excess air.
Line a round or rectangular cake tin with baking paper and place the dough in to bake.
Bake the bread on 200c for 65-75min, checking the colour doesn’t get too dark. Reduce the oven temperature to 170c and continue baking for 25min, covering with foil if the colour is too dark.
Remove and cook on a baking rack for 1hour.