As previously blogged on “To yeast, or not to yeast …” An introduction to bread. I am on a bread making journey. Not just any ordinary bread – but organic bread using wild yeast cultures. Essentially two ingredients are all it takes to make bread: flour (I use organic whole wheat flour. Once I master the art of bread making with wheat I will move on to other types of flours) and water (I like distilled). It is recommended to add a pinch or two of salt (I only use pink Himalayan salt for its trace minerals and nutrients only found in it) and a few teaspoons of sugar (I use coconut palm sugar).
I have let bread doughs sit to ferment anywhere from 1-4 days. The longer the dough sits the more sour it will smell and taste. After your fermenting time is up, you turn the pancake-batter-consistency dough into that characteristic bread dough, adding flour until a dough ball forms that doesn’t stick to anything. Next, let the dough rise for another day or two, until doubled in size. When it is time to bake score the dough into sections and form the dough into whatever shape you desire (loaf, rolls, ciabatta). You need to let it sit and rise again until it has doubled in size. Baking bread the natural way is not for the time deprived or the impatient!
I formed the dough into rolls, covered with a thin kitchen towel and set them in the warmest room of our house (it gets between 75-80F) and let them rise overnight. There are about as many different methods for time and temperature of baking bread as there are bakers. Since previous endeavors have left me with rock hard crust and dense doughy centers (high temperature for shorter time) I decided to go low and slow. I set the oven to 225F and baked for about 45 minutes (I had an inkling to drizzle olive oil over them while they were baking. You can see where I did this in the finished product.) After 40 minutes I tested a roll and it was still dough in the center. I baked another 15 minutes, turned the oven off, and let them finish. Patience is truly a virtue in bread making because you must let the bread completely cool before cutting or you will end up with a thick gooey mess!
These rolls are the best batch of bread I have made yet. Unlike the artisanal flat loaf I made a few days ago (which is perfect for sandwiches, biscotti or toast), these rolls are light and airy, soft and pillowy, slightly chewy and moist. Also it is my first batch of bread that is not sour! I only let them sit for 24 hours and rise overnight. They did not have time to ferment and develop that famed sour flavor my other sourdoughs have. These go perfectly with bee pollen garnished cashew butter and hemp hearts (my favorite go-to breakfast), drizzled with honey and butter, or enjoyed plain!
Patience is something I struggle with. Being a mom of a four year old has certainly presented me with every opportunity to practice patience. It is a virtue after after all: “He that is slow to anger is better than the mighty … “ (Proverbs 16:32). Bread making is also another opportunity to build on it. When done the natural way it yields a healthy life sustaining substance and develops patience within us. It takes many days; days which are filled with jobs, relationships, social media, entertainment and running households. In the rat race we unfortunately call life, time is our most valuable possession. It is something we waste whilst wishing we had more of. It is imperative we are always “Redeeming the time, because the days are evil” (Ephesians 5:16).
As I go forth with my days, I need to try and be patient, kind and gentle with myself and those around me. I get frustrated easily so I need to remember that Our Creator is a patient God, long-suffering in His mercy and grace He chooses to bestow upon His elect. May patience permeate our daily lives, and “May the God of patience and consolation grant you to be likeminded one toward another according to Christ Jesus.” (Romans 15:5).
Selah, my friends.