Saturday, 26 November 2011

Grateful to be a Baker of Bread

This week's them at our cooking club is gratitude. Fitting for my American cohorts as it is their Thanksgiving celebration this week, but just because some of us aren't celebrating turkey day doesn't mean we don't have much to be grateful for.

Don't worry, I'll only pick one.

I'm grateful that I can bake my own bread. That I have learned how, that I have an oven, pans, and various fun bread-baking toys. That I can grind my own whole grain flour. And, most importantly, I have the time to do it. No small thing, that.

I am also grateful for all the wonderful people who share this love of bread baking with me. By virtue of the internet, I bake with lovely people from all over the world. Many of these fabulous bread bakers have become treasured friends. Amazing. 

So, when I think of what little I have - when some my friends jet-set all over the world and eat out in fancy restaurants and park fancy cars in front of their fancy houses...

I make simple bread in my tiny house. From scratch. And it makes me happy.

And it makes my family happy. And what can be better than that?

Pão Buns
adapted from Piri Piri Starfish by Tessa Kiros
for I♥CookingClubs

First thing in the morning:

Make a bubbly starter!

Combine 200 grams flour with 250 mls warm water and 1 pkg instant yeast (2¼ tsp).
Mix well and let sit, covered, in a draft-free place for a few hours until nice and bubbly.
Have breakfast, do the housework, walk the dog...

Later that day...

Make the dough!

450gr bread flour
50 gr rye flour
1 heaped tsp fine sea salt
1 tbsp olive oil
200 ml warm water

Combine everything - the dough ingredients and the bubbly starter - in a large bowl.
I like to use my stand mixer with the dough hook, if you want to knead by hand - go for it!
5 minutes in the stand mixer or 15 by hand, knead until nice and smooth and supple, adjust hydration as necessary.
Form into a ball and let rise for 2-3 hours, until nicely puffed.
Divide into 8 equal(ish) sized pieces.
Pat the pieces down to make a flattish oval. Use a thin dowel or the back of a butterknife to make a good indent in the middle of the buns.
Roll and twist the ends.
Place 4 on each silpat or parchment-lined half-sheet pan.
Sprinkle with a little rye flour.
Let rise another hour or so, covered.
Preheat oven to 200°C.
Bake for 20 minutes or until crusty and golden.
Let cool on racks.
Contemplate how fortunate you are to be able to bake your own bread!

This bread has been Yeastspotted!

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