Purity, Simplicity, Perfection: Overnight Sponge Bread

“Let food be thy medicine and medicine be thy food” Hippocrates

Being healthy, the idea of health-consciousness is a very modern and popular approach to eating and food preparation. There are millions of nutritionist, biologists, researchers and doctors who, after scrutinizing soil, crops, animals and nature, keep arriving to the ultimate solutions: avoiding the modern civilization illnesses is based on what we eat…Surprised??? My grandparents could have told that to me somewhat thirty years ago, without fancy skills and posh qualifications, simply having common sense. They, instead, lived in harmony with nature, loved life, respected all living things and only harvested or slaughtered what they needed to feed on. There were well-practiced, comfortable and maker-eater friendly techniques to prepare all different dishes, with no fuss, no difficulty but maximised pleasure.

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In bread making, one of the old secrets is: a selection of flours, yeast and more time  result in  proper loaves, with fermentation being the the key of success. My grandmother’s recipe uses the sponge method, which was the traditional way until the arrival of  so called modern and needed, but rather unhealthy short-cuts. Starting the day before instead of using additives, was planned in my grandparents’ everyday life. Purity, simplicity, perfection.

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“Respect your body. Eat well. Dance forever.” Eliza Gaynor Minden

Ingredients
Overnight Sponge
5g fresh yeast
130 g lukewarm water
50 g strong wholemeal flour
50 g strong white flour
50 g rye flour
Final Bread Dough
250 g strong white flour
100 strong wholemeal flour
100 g rye flour
5 g salt
270 g water
15 g olive oil
Optional extras: honey, nuts, seeds

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Method
Combine all the ingredients and mix to form a soft dough, place in a lightly oiled bowl, cover with clingfilm and leave until the morning.
Next day, or a few hours later, make the final dough, containing: mix all ingredients together and knead for eight to ten minutes, rests and knead it again shortly. Place in lightly oiled bowl, cover and leave for an one to two hour.
Roll dough into a fat sausage, curl it up to create a couronne/ring. Cover a baking sheet with baking parchment, place the loaf on this, cover with a clean tea-towel and leave for 20 minutes. Heat oven to highest setting for ten minutes, uncover loaf, slash a couple of times with a sharp knife and bake for ten minutes. Then reduce the temperature to about 180 degrees C and bake for another 30-40 minutes or so. Remove loaf from tray and pop it back in the oven directly on the shelf for three minutes. Tap bottom of loaf and return to oven if they don’t sound hollow. Remove and cool on a wire tray.

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“No disease that can be treated by diet should be treated with any other means.” Maimonides

4 thoughts on “Purity, Simplicity, Perfection: Overnight Sponge Bread

  1. It’s my bread time too. I’m trying to learn to be more patience making bread, absolutely respectful of purity, simplicity, perfection. Your grandmother’s recipe is perfect even for me. Beautiful pictures!

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