Around 9:00pm, grab yourself a big bowl. Dump in 2 Cups of Whole Wheat flour, 4 Cups of regular flour (I use King Arthur flour, I’ve preferred it for bread baking, but never really use bread flour. I leave that up to you). Dump in some raw cashews, raw sun flour seeds, raw pepitas, some flax meal, 1/2 teaspoon of yeast, 2&1/2 teaspoons of salt (Kosher salt is fine), and then mix it all up with a spoon. Add in 3&1/2 Cups of water, and mix it up. Cover with seran wrap, and walk away for 18 hours.
It will look like this once you’ve mixed it up:
And then, 18 hours later:
Note the gluten-y goodness happening,
all from a scant 1/2 teaspoon of yeast! It’s all about time, baby.
Sprinkle a bit of flour on your counter, and dump out dough. Grab a dough scraper, (or just put some flour on your hands), and flop the dough over two or three times. Sprinkle it with a touch of flour, cover with the used Saran wrap, and let it rest for fifteen minutes. During this time, take two loaf pans (your fave ones, I like the Chicago Metalics brand personally) and wipe down with olive oil, or spray it on, and then douse the pans with corse corn meal. Really get it in there!
Take your dough scraper, and chop the blob in half. Sure, you could weigh and measure to get exact amounts, but seriously? You don’t need to. Just eye ball it. Shape the 1/2 blob into a rectangle with the heel of your (slightly floured) hand, and then fold the top to the middle, and fold the bottom to the middle. Grab the folded blob, and stretching it slightly as you turn it over, plunk it into the prepped pan. Do the same with the second half. Place the pans on a draft-free spot (I use the two back burners of the stove, and turn the microwave’s overhead light on), and cover it with more corse corn meal,
and then cover the pans with a cotton dish towel.
Walk away for ninety minutes. At the ninety minute mark, pre-heat oven to 500 degrees, and move the pans to the counter. When the oven is pre-heated (about thirty minutes, depending on your stove), and your dough has a nice “poof” to it:
Open the oven and put the pans in. Set the kitchen timer for twenty minutes, and turn the oven down to 480.
At the end of twenty minutes, open the stove, and flick, yes, flick the center of the loaves with your middle finger and thumb, listening for that “hollow” sound. If hollow sounding, turn off oven, and leave them in for 5 minutes more. If more “thuddy” than hollow sounding, reset timer for about 5-8 minutes, and test again. A nice golden crust should also help you out.
When loaves are done
, take out of oven, and turn loaves out onto wire racks to cool. You may want to use pot holders to help you handle the bread, it will be HAWT! This is also where the copious amounts of cornmeal will have come in handy. The loaves should just slide out. Like buttah.
Now here’s the hard part. Wait. DO NOT cut into the loaves for about twenty minutes. You CAN listen to the loverly sound of the crust cooling, it will sometimes snap, crackle and pop. A cool sound.
While waiting, go ahead and prep a small bowl with olive oil and some spices. After about twenty minutes (you did wait, didn’t you?) cut into that baby and enjoy.
Once completely cool, you can bag one up and stick it in the freezer, for later use, and put the current one (if any left) into the plastic bag of your choice. If you want to maintain the harder crust, then stick it in a paper bag; but if you plan in using it for sandwiches all week like we do, a softer crust is fine, and even preferred.
I also enjoy a slice or two in the am, toasted, with butter and jam. A perfect accompaniment to a nice, strong cup of Joe…