Foodie Updates

All kinds of food related posts, just because I am so overwhelmed by gluttony. There will be recipes, tips, histories, science, random musings, photos, ideas, reposts, other people's food long as it has something to do with food. It would make it's way here. Feel free to comment and ask me anything food related. This would be material for future posts. =]

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I finally felt confident enough to actually try baking a loaf of bread with yeast from scratch. I decided not to bake the usual boring white loaf because I could easily get that in the shops. Besides I think the best bread I’ve tasted recently are non-white types so I decided to give it a go. My boss is often raving about how good rye bread is so it made me rather curious. I am not attempting the authentic Finnish rye bread yet but a nice rye-mix sourdough that’s probably easier for me to eat.

The recipe I’ve used:

I followed the exact instructions to make the sourdough starter. The starter is fed with boiled potato water. However I didn’t add mash potatoes to the final dough. 

From what I understand the basic protocol to make a bread goes something like this:

A) Mix everything to get make dough for the regular loaf


B) Prepare Leaven, then mix everything to make sourdough loaf


1) Wait 10mins for moisture to be absorbed

2) Knead dough to stretch out some gluten. Just a bit of gentle kneading will do. No need to torture self unless it has been a bad day. I used Dan Lepard’s kneading method. I bought his book last Friday and I have only read a few pages. So there’s still a lot to learn.

3) Leave it for a few hours/overnight to double in size. Mother Nature will do the gluten stretching and flavours should develop over this long period.

4) Shape the bread and put it into loaf tin.

5) Leave it for 10mins -5hours depending on type of flour used to rise to another 50%-100% volume. Seriously 10mins!?? What kind of industrial strength yeast would that be?

6) Bake the bread. First at 220degrees C, brushing water for the crust to form for 15-20mins. Then 170-180degrees C for the insides to be cooked.


Coating melted butter on top of the freshly baked loaf does make it worth a million dollars, and smells good too!

As I didn’t allow the loaf to rise enough before baking, it cracked at the sides. =( Here’s a bigger crack on the other side:

Because rye flour is quite dense so I should have given it up to 5 hours to rise after shaping. I only left it for 40mins and I did noticed it didn’t rise very much. 

It was still a little doughy inside but works on the whole it isn’t too bad.

Close up on the inside of the bread:

Sigh insufficient rising before baking. What a mistake!

Taste wise I really liked the mild sweetness. It felt really nice to eat it just with butter. I really should have it as decent sandwich bread but I enjoyed it with just butter.

Lessons learnt:

I’ve just read in Dan Lepard’s book that tapping the base of the bread loaf to listen out for hollow sound is a useless method. I agree! I did that and my bread is still not properly cooked. =/ I might have to set longer cooking time at the lower temperature.

The terrible thought of kneading bread and working out a sweat is a myth. There simply is no need to. Think about it, most of the time on tv these chefs don’t really work all their muscles kneading dough for AGES and AGES. Even the bread machines don’t even have massive bread paddles. Just set aside plenty of time and mother nature will stretch out the gluten and mix everything out nicely. Punching dough IS silly, why burst all those air bubbles that we want. 

Kneading dough on oiled surface is actually so much easier than floured surfaces! 

So my new protocol goes something like this:

Day 1 night: Take out sourdough starter and feed it (~6hours waiting time)

Day 2 morning: Prepare Leaven by adding more flour to soughdough starter (~6hours waiting time)

Day 2 after work before dinner: Prepare bread dough by adding all other ingredients. (wait 10mins) Knead using Dan Lepard’s recommended method. 3x10mins intervals. Leave dough to rise.

Day 2 before I sleep: Shape dough and place in loaf tin (Leave to rise ~5hours. It’s winter so overnight should be okay.)

Day 3 Morning: Put bread to bake and then prep for going out to work. I’m not going to eat it immediately so it’ll cool nicely.

It looks awfully tedious but it only takes a few minutes at each step. We just have to be patient and be organised. =] I’ve already set a new sourdough starter out. Can hardly wait.