Thursday, April 30, 2009

Bread Making Demonstration

Last night we had our regular Wednesday night Nutrition and Weight Loss Class here in our home. The class is also broadcast over the internet and can be joined in by people all over the country. After the class we had another special demonstration just like last week. This week I showed our class members how to make a natural yeast or sourdough bread from beginning to end.
This required some planning on my part to show each step of the process that normally takes up to 2 1/2 days, in just 45 minutes. I started prepping for the class on Monday and by last night there was a total of 8 loaves of bread in various stages. Here is a link for the full recipe.
Here are some photos taken by Papa-rotzzi:

The first step in the process was to make the 'sponge'. The sponge is a mixture of whole wheat flour, milk and sourdough starter. The sponge should be set aside for 8 hours or more depending on the time of year and the weather.

After the resting time for the sponge has been completed, it should look very bubbly and airy when a fork is dragged though it - it almost looks dry. This is when the rest of the ingredients get added to the sponge and mixed together as best you can in the bowl, then, the dough gets turned out onto a counter to be kneaded until all the ingredients are worked together smoothly.

The newly formed dough gets placed back into a bowl and directly covered with plastic wrap (right on top of the dough) and loosely covered with a towel for about 2 hours. After this rest period, divide the dough into two loaves, knead lightly to shape into a loaf and place in loaf pans.

This is where working with natural yeast can get tricky....because this last rise is hugely dependant on the time of year and the weather. First, lay plastic wrap right on top of the loaves and cover again with a towel. In the cooler months, I need to put the loaves in the oven (while it is off) and place a roasting pan on the shelf below them filled with boiling water. Close the oven door and don't open it for at least 8 hours. This usually does the trick.

In the spring, summer and fall there is no need for this extra step. The final rise can happen on a counter in about 8 hours or so.

When the loaves have risen, all that's left to do is bake them in a 350 degree oven for about 40-45 minutes. Test the loaves to see if they're cooked completely by thumping a wooden spoon on the tops - you want to hear a hollow sound.

Then comes the best part of all - the eating! Last night we had warm bread from the oven with Kate's Homemade Butter and Orange Marmalade.

Making bread with natural yeast is not as difficult as it sounds. I hope this post helps and encourages you to give it a try - and thanks to all the people who stayed for the demo last night!

Enjoy the day -Wonderwoman


  1. I love home made bread, they are addictive. Thanks for sharing with Hearth and soul blog hop.

    1. Yes, there's nothing like a warm slice of homemade bread! Thanks for commenting!

  2. What a wonderful idea! I love the idea of an online demonstration. I grew up cooking and baking, but so many people haven't and are somewhat intimidated by the baking process. This is a great way to break down the steps.


Hey! Thanks for leaving a comment....