As the wedding season is winding down for us, Luke and I have a little more time to enjoy being at home. And as many of you know, Luke and I love (ok maybe are obsessed) with DIY projects. There is something just so gratifying about creating something out of almost nothing. We've made our own beer, wine, cheese, gelato, home roasted coffee... And now lately I've been experimenting with making my own natural leaven bread in the French country style. Thanks to my new Tartine Bread book we got for a wedding gift. I love cookbooks like this!
I'm not new to bread making, and I've made lots of bread with commercial yeast in the past, but this was way harder than I expected, though totally worth it. I made my own starter with just flour and water, then waited for the natural yeast and bacteria in the air to collect and grow. After a week I had a nice starter going and attempted my first loaf. First loaf failed! It came out rock hard and dense, I needed to give the rising more time as I had rushed it along somewhat (note to self: don't start making bread at 1pm). Plus what I really needed was a dutch oven to simulate a steaming sealed wood-oven chamber. Second attempt was perfection, crunchy crust and moist inside! This bread was so addictively good, we couldn't stop eating it! It felt really good to have actually made my own real bread from what I "collected" out of the air with a little water, flour and salt! Some of the best things are the most elemental... simple.
I'm going to try to keep making this bread as much as my schedule allows, until I get better (my third attempt failed again- I accidentally left the rising dough in a 350 degree oven--duh distracted!) It literally takes a whole 9 hr day, but Ive found that I can work at the same time and take "bread kneading breaks." Who wouldn't want to put their hands into warm gooey bread dough after working at a desk for hours? Well until the next project... hmmm mushroom growing?!