Today I’d also like to take a few minutes to review my Basic Bread Recipe for anyone who may have tried this and can’t quite figure out my vague way of writing recipes.
This was the first of the recipes I shared, and one I make at least once a week. It’s a staple in our household. I had the pleasure of meeting a lovely lady in the post office last week. I did not get her name, I’m sorry. But we talked about the bread recipe, which did not work for her. Being from Creede as she was, at an elevation of about 9,000 feet, I figured her baking specs would be similar to mine.
So, I’m going to go over this again, and try to be a better job of describing what I do with this bread. Since my words and measurements might not cut it, and because I really feel it has such variation, not just from the altitude, but from air temp and weather and flour, etc., so I took a lot of pictures and hope this will help. These photos are from mid week this week, and as I was out building those bluebird boxes in the middle of the final rising, the dough rose out of control, stuck to my plastic bag and looks a bit funny. But I thought it would be good to show anyway, because you can see how even when I “mess up,” this bread works out great!
First: day one, the starter. I used exactly 2 cups flour, 1 cup water and ¼ teaspoon yeast. Mushed it up by hand (see photo: Bread stage 1), covered the bowl with a plastic bag, let it sit out all day, then put it in the fridge over night.
Second: day two, the starter and the main dough. I took the starter out of the fridge at breakfast to warm up a little. After breakfast I mixed exactly 3 cups flour, 1 1/3 cup water, 2 tablespoons (yes, tablespoons) salt, and 1 teaspoon yeast together. Then I added the dough from yesterday (see photo: Bread stage 2), mixed the two up, covered, and let sit till lunch time.
Third: at lunch time, I squooshed the dough up more with my fingers. (see photo: Bread stage 3) Messy work, getting neater. Add more flour until it becomes rather un-sticky.
Forth: Around 2:30, I formed the loaf with lightly floured hands on a lightly floured counter. It’s not near as messy to work with now. (see photo: Bread stage 4)
Fifth: Around 5:30 (too long to wait – the dough rose too much, but it still works fine) I scored the top of the loaf (see photo: Bread stage 5), poured on ¼ cup water, and baked on doubled cookie sheet for 10 minutes in a hot oven (425), then 30 minutes with the heat turned down (325). Timing was exact. And temperatures were exact since I used my gas oven, not the wood cook stove. Removed from oven and cooled on wire rack. (see photo at the top of post for the finished product)
I hope this helps, I hope this works. It’s such good and easy bread – once you find the exact measurements and timing that work for you at your elevation, I think you’ll love it. Please let me know if this helps…