I suppose most of my readers know that I am crazy for sourdough bread. But there’s something to be said for a simple, straightforward loaf that is a breeze to make and will be so much better than anything store-bought. Granted, it won’t stay good for as long because you won’t be adding preservatives to it, but isn’t that a bonus? This recipe from Dan Lepard is simplicity in itself. Think of the usual suspects, flour, water, salt, and yeast, with a smidgen of butter that will contribute with flavor and improve texture. Anyone can make this bread, beginners, experienced bakers, children, yeast-o-phobes. All you need is a loaf pan, although you could conceivably shape it free form and bake it on a stone or baking sheet.
SIMPLE WHITE LOAF – RECIPE OVERVIEW
The recipe calls for a sponge, which is simply a very liquid mixture of water, flour, and commercial yeast, allowed to ferment for a couple of hours or overnight. The longer you allow the sponge to ferment, the better. I’ve made this bread after overnight “spongification” or after 2 hours, both worked quite well.
Once your sponge is ready, you will add the rest of the flour to the dough, a little softened butter, and do the minimal kneading technique 10 minutes after mixing the dough, again at 25 minutes, and one final time at 40 minutes (timing is quite flexible). A final 30 minute-proofing and you’ll be ready to shape the loaf.
The shaped loaf sits for 90 minutes, gets slashed and baked for about 45 minutes.
The full recipe can be found in Short and Sweet. You might be able to find it also through a google search.
For my review of his book, click here.
This simple recipe can be adapted in many ways. Dan himself used whey liquid from fresh mozzarella as part of the water in the recipe and loved the slight “tang” in the bread. One person who discussed this recipe in a Facebook page mentioned that a little soy sauce together with the water does wonders. Quite intriguing, I should try that at some point, probably reducing a little the amount of salt as soy contributes with some.
Slightly toasted, it is perfect to go with pretty much anything you’d like… from sliced ham to jams, or a smear of butter with Maldon sea salt flakes… heaven! I made this recipe three times so far, and after we enjoy it on the day of baking, I wrap 4 slices together and freeze them. Within 10 minutes at room temperature and a brief encounter with our small Breville oven, they are as good as freshly baked.
Before I leave, allow me to share a link to the best 10 breads to have in your repertoire according to Dan Lepard. I was happy to see several that I made (and blogged about) included in his list.
ONE YEAR AGO: Maureen’s Fabulously Fudgy Brownies
TWO YEARS AGO: Wheat Berry Caraway Bread
THREE YEARS AGO: Mexican Focaccia
FOUR YEARS AGO: Sunny Kamut Salad with Roasted Lemon Vinaigrette
FIVE YEARS AGO: Pane de Casa & Crostini
SIX YEARS AGO: Down-home Dig-in Chili
SEVEN YEARS AGO: Cinnamon Rolls