Sunday, October 31, 2010

Back into the Bread-making Groove

I've joined a new blogging community of some amazing writers and photographers at I post on Tuesdays, and our focus is birding, whether it be identification, travel, pleasure, or conservation related issues. But it has to be about birds.

Here at Birdernaturalist, this is my blog, and when I'm home between tours, it's not all birding and natural history. And since this is my very own blog, meant to keep all my friends informed as well as serve as something of a diary for myself, I get to post whatever I want.

Since coming home from Peru I've baked five loaves of bread. I'm trying to not eat all of myself, so some went to a friend's house, some is in the freezer. And I don't see a slowdown in my baking until I head to the Galapagos next month. I'm trying out recipes and some new techniques in Peter Reinhart's Whole Grand Breads (I haven't cracked open Artisan Breads Everyday yet...) But I just can't seem to stop.

The primary technique he introduces in this book is what he calls the "epoxy method." It's very simple – make a soaker and a and starter separately, then after a certain amount of time for enzymes and yeast to do their magic, mix them together the next day (along with the rest of the ingredients). The overnight processes supposedly contribute to a better flavor and texture.

These photos mostly feature a Rye Meteil (which is mostly whole wheat, less than 50% rye). By making my own rye bread, I can eliminate caraway, which I don't like.

The soaker is merely water, flour and salt (proportions being all important in every step).

The starter is more like the final dough in that it also has yeast – but very little so that it rises very slowly.

The other ingredients include some sweetener (honey and molasses here), some fat (butter here), more salt and yeast, and perhaps other added things – here an onion. One can also add other grains and seeds as well.

All mixed into a dough which rises once in a bowl.

Then rises a second time after formed into the loaf. The end results are worth the effort, and it's actually very easy.


  1. Sounds like something worth trying! I remember my grandmother keeping rising yeast doughs on the far corner of her coal and wood fired cooking stove. She went out of her way to have a modern one of those installed when everybody else cooked electric or with gas, and she actually had an electric one, too. In Germany it just wasn't warm enough for yeast otherwise. Here in Arizona I can just see 'room temperature' do a great job.