“Affluence separates people. Poverty knits ’em together. You got some sugar and I don’t; I borrow some of yours. Next month you might not have any flour; well, I’ll give you some of mine.” Ray Charles
It is surprisingly easy to create new life. Place a few tablespoons of flour in a mason jar. Stir warm water in to make a thick paste, cover with kitchen towel and let it to rest for up to a week, stirring occasionally when remembered, just to mix the questionable looking and smelling liquid that forms on top back in. Eventually, little bubbles will form throughout. It’s alive…. and it can move into its permanent home in the fridge. By this time the flour and water have been colonised by wild yeast, which is eating, breeding and producing carbon dioxide, waiting to create loaves, full of flavour and interestingly sized and shaped holes. Given the fact that it is operated and worked by nature, even the simplest recipes will sometimes produce bread that is plain ugly, however, has the most amazing taste.
Once starter is refrigerated, after a few feeding cycles pass, the wild yeast built up its strength, so a whole day in or near the kitchen. The day before baking feed starter and, in the evening, take it out of the fridge. The next morning, place 285 g of it in a large bowl with 225 g of white bread flour, 225 g flour of the starter (wheat, rye or kamut), 5 tbsp olive oil and enough warm water (about 340 ml) to create a soft dough.Mix the ingredients and leave them to sit for half an hour, then add a 9 g of salt. Knead the dough for just 15 seconds. Leave for 15 minutes, then repeat twice. Now leave the dough to rise until it is at least 1.5 times bigger than it was at the start.
Generously flour work surface and turn the dough out on to it. Slide hands underneath, and gently stretch the dough into a square, then fold it into rectangular thirds. Then do the same thing with the rectangle to create another square, gently trapping air. Turn the dough over, smooth it into a rough ball and put it back in the bowl. Leave for 20 minutes, and repeat this folding and twice.
After the final fold, place the ball of dough on a sheet of parchment. Set the oven to 220 degrees C and place the baking tray near the bottom of the oven to preheat. Leave the dough to rise a little more, for 20 minutes or so, and pat back into shape if necessary. Using a sharp knife slash the top of the loaf. Transfer the dough and parchment on to the hot tray, then spray with water and cover with a ceramic/stoneware bowl, upturned. After 15 minutes, remove the bowl. Lower the heat to 200 degrees C and bake for another 20-40 minutes. Allow to cool completely before cutting.
“How come when you mix water and flour together you get glue…and then you add eggs and sugar and you get cake? Where does the glue go?” Rita Rudner