Baking Bread and Making Beds
When I find myself in the midst of a day of domesticity, I feel the connection to all of the mothers that have gone before me. Making beds. I even spent a whole day recently shopping for a new bed (have a look at the Big Warehouse Sale for inspiration). Then I start fluffing pillows, smoothing little wrinkles away with a sure hand and tucking a little love under the covers as I go. My mind wanders to the sun-dried sheets of my childhood. My own mother would sprinkle a little baby powder into the mix. There’s something so utterly comforting about sliding into a “made just for you” bed at the end of a well spent day – or for a delicious nap in the warm golden glow of an afternoon.
I really wanted to add the scent of freshly baked bread to this particular bed-making morning. This is so simple and satisfying I just had to share it with you.
Heat your oven and pans to 425?. I use my enameled roaster with a small rack and stoneware bar pan inside. I heat the whole shebang – even the lid. (The dough will hold its shape, even on a cookie sheet, but you need to cover the loaf during part of the baking time.)
Then it’s 3. 2. 1. Three cups of flour, I use whole wheat. Two cups of water and 1 cup of sourdough starter* (room temperature). I also add two teaspoons of salt and melt a couple of tablespoons of butter on the stove top while the oven heats.
Mix the salt into the flour. Add the water and starter. This will make a heavy, sticky dough. Do not over mix or knead the dough, if you do your bread will become tough. As it is, this bread is very dense and hearty. Fold the dough from side to side, turn 90? and repeat. This will give your loaf a nice shape. Don’t worry about doing it right, it just needs to fit your pan.
Get your hot pads and take your pan from the oven. Flop the dough over into the hot pan. Pour the melted butter on top (if desired). Pop the bread into the oven. Set the timer for 20 minutes. When the timer goes off, — USE you oven mit to put the lid on the roaster. This will keep your bread baking without burning. Bake 15 to 20 minutes more.
*If you don’t have a starter in your fridge, you can make your own in a clean glass jar with 1 cup of warm water and 1 cup of flour. For complete details, check outhttp://www.io.com/~sjohn/sour.htm. My starter is about a year old. This website was the main source I used to get my own starter started..
My family ate the whole loaf between dinner and breakfast, with only this crusty bit left for my lunch the next afternoon. Enjoy!
Photo by: Lisa Keating