Eating bread has become such a part of me that if I don’t have any on a given day, I feel as though some part of me has gone missing.
A morning cuppa with a butter spread bread has been the perfect recipe for me to kick start my day.
But over the years, I felt that I had taken for granted the bread I have without even considering if it might be the best or the healthiest of choices.
This is where I subconsciously started looking for bread that put enough taste into my mouth without damaging my health.
Here’s my story – me and my bread.
My Tryst with Bread
I have always loved freshly baked bread, right out of the baker’s oven. In fact, I have grown up eating such kinds of freshly baked loaves of bread with the smell of goodness and health almost every morning in my small town.
It was much later when I came across the sourdough bread — as one of my friends just swore by it, that it piqued my interest. I did not bother to give it much thought as I was happy with my multigrain or oregano.
Other than that, the name itself put me off; ‘how can bread be sour?’ I thought. It should be somewhat neutral in taste.
It is me who should be adding the taste through spreads and other veggies or sauces.
But was I wrong? You bet.
Years later, when I had the sourdough with one of my colleagues, did I realize what I have missed all along.
The tangy flavor of the bread I tasted 3 years ago still has not left me. Besides that, I regularly reach out for the bread when I host small parties for my friends and family.
More than anything, I was quite amazed at the way the sourdough bread was shaped. Its round and curvy edges and the savory odor was something I decided to master no matter what; as a tribute to my grandpa — who at times himself used to bake homemade bread for us.
So after a little bit of help from my friends, and a lot of accidents, I can say with quite a certainty that I know a thing or two to shape sourdough bread.
Now A Missionary
Let’s get started with a perfectly molded bread:-
Sourdough bread is special because it is fermented by naturally occurring yeast and bacteria.
After you put the flour and water in a container and keep it for 2 hours, the result would be a soft dough.
Now take it out and flatten it out on the surface into a rectangular shape.
Fold it into a ⅓rd of its size. Keep sprinkling the flour on it so that it does not stick to your hand or the table.
Once you have the rough regular 4-sided shape, roll the dough using your finger towards you and use the thumb to roll it out.
The next step is to roll the entire dough in a cylindrical or a spherical shape, depending on the shape you want. Generally, use a banneton or proofing basket instead of a baking tin to ferment your dough; so that the bread can take the required shape and looks rounder and curvier, as opposed to a rigid cubical shape.
Before putting the kneaded dough in the basket, sprinkle the basket with some flour so that the dough does not stick to the basket.
Once you are done putting the dough in the basket, cover the dough with a shower cap. Keep enough space for the dough to rise during the fermentation process.
Natural Bacteria Working It’s Way
Let it ferment for about 4-6 hours and then open the shower cap.
What you see would be a real beauty.
The dough has risen up a few inches. You don’t want to rise it more, as it would spill out of the tray.
To check if your sourdough is ready for baking or not, just press the top surface and the indent won’t go.
This means that you are ready for baking.
Shaping and Scoring
Once you overturn the dough to be put on the floor of the oven, the dough would have taken the shape of the proofing basket, with the ridges and round corners.
This is an important step for shaping. Use the baker’s blade or any knife with a sufficiently sharp blade and slay the bread in the shape you want.
Three cuts are quite common on a long bread.
For round bread, you can design it with the help of a baker’s blade; making even squares by crisscrossing over the round bread.
Now sprinkle some flour and spray some water on the surface of the oven and the dough. The water is useful in increasing the intensity of the heat once in the oven, and the flour does not let it stick to the base of the plate.
Wait for 30 minutes.
Breaking The Bread
Now you have the perfectly shaped sourdough bread, ready to be eaten just as it is or you can stuff it with some chicken breast or bread spread.
The yummylicious taste of the perfectly baked and shaped sourdough bread will surely stay in your mouth for years to come.