Wu Wei White Bread
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HOME->SD->Wu Wei White Bread

Wu Wei White Bread

The underlying idea is to make sourdough bread in a very simple and more "natural" way by using senses and simple relations of ingredients, maybe approaching the way bread was made in previous centuries or is done now in societies closer to nature or other, less prevalent value system communities.

Below follows a description in an attempt to communicate the "experience" and maybe entice you to try something similar. The result is definitely encouraging and I found doing it this way as very rewarding, interesting and more accommodating to the "needs" of the ingredients rather imposing a fixed rule to something which varies anyway (flour, temperature, starter, air pressure, etc.).

Description of process:

Take some of your active starter (I used Carl's for this), add 3 - 6 times the amount of flour, make a little mountain from it on your work surface, add about the same amount of water you used as starter in a depression on top of the mound and start kneading with your hands. As you knead, after a few minutes, the consistency of the mass will change and become more homogenous. If you think it is too wet, add more flour.

The dough will absorb more water after a few minutes of kneading and get dryer. Add water by wetting your hands and continue kneading.

Also add some salt. Add just a little so the dough changes taste but does not taste salty.

Continue adding water, kneading the sticky dough a few minutes until the water is absorbed and the dough gets dry again.

With this, the dough will get softer and more "spongy". Eventually, you will reach a point, where the dough does not absorb any more water and will stay sticky.

This process may take 1/2 hour.

Add a little flour so the dough is just a little sticky.

Put the dough in a bowl and cover it with something to keep it from drying out or building a crust.

Put it on a warm spot so it can rise - maybe double within 2 hours, maybe not that much, maybe more.

After it has risen, deflate it. A way to do this is by stretching and folding the dough several times - maybe four times.

Form a dough ball and let it rise again.

After it has risen the second time, take the dough, divide it into pieces of the size you want your final products in and shape them.

Let the pieces rest and recover until they start to rise again, maybe after 15/20 minutes.

Before you bake, slash loaves to allow expansion.

Then, bake it in a preheated oven initially with a high temperature, and lower the temperature after maybe 5 or 10 minutes.

It helps to have a baking stone (unglazed clay 12" x 12" x 1/2" tile for $ 2.00 at building supply stores) and a bowl with boiling water in a corner of the oven and spray water with a spray gun into the oven repeatedly during the first 10 minutes.

Bake until the smell changes to great bread smell, which may be 20 - 40 minutes.

Enjoy your result...

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