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Friday, January 06, 2012

My Artisan Bread Making

This is my story of my Artisan bread making.  While I was in Iowa in Sept. My good friend gave me a lesson along with a jar of sourdough starter to get me started.  The story about Artisan bread comes from the word artisan, meaning "use your artistic talents to do your own thing"  This bread is awesome and you can do all kinds of stuff to it and it comes out wonderful every time.  There is minimal kneading,  in fact Betty has a dough bucket that looks like a stainless steel milk bucket with a detachable stirring paddle.  She uses the dump method of adding the ingredients.  The only secret is getting the water and flour in proportion to create this soft dough and of course the sourdough starter.  It can be stored in the refrigerate for several days then baked later. You save back some starter and feed it with water and flour a couple times a week and it gets this great sourdough smell.   I mix a batch that will do 4 of these loaves and only bake one or 2 at a time.
Here is one loaf coming out of the oven.  This bread is baked on a clay stone with a clay cloche cover.  That is what gives it the nice crusty crust that is awesome.  Betty makes these in her pottery shop and also gives lessons in her turn of the century home as part of the county's "Folk School" classes.This is a very healthy bread as you can add what ever you want.  Betty likes to  pat out a loaf and add asiago cheese, hot peppers, diced sweet peppers, or cinnamon and sugar, or a combination of what ever she feels. For this batch I added the cooked wheat berries that I put in the blender for a few min. to break up, lightly ground flax, some dry 8 grain cereal, wheat flour (only a cup or so as bread flour is a must to be over half of the flour) and honey. I have made the cinnamon version, by patting out the dough, splashing on olive oil, then cinnamon and sugar, and maybe walnuts.  Awesome stuff!
Here is Betty's web site if you want to look,  she has an awesome shop in Bentonsport Iowa, (she grew up across the river) She is a potter, weaver, and so much more.  Her husband is a black smith.  Betty and I grew up together and when I need my "Iowa Fix"  I always go there and we have a great time.  She taught me to weave and sold me my first baby loom.  Now I have one of her bread cloches and my sourdough starter.  What a friend. Here is her web site.        


MadCityMike said...

It certainly does look delicious. For my birthday a few years ago, my kids gave me some sourdough starter, which I am proud to say, is still alive and well. I bake our bread once, or twice a week, depending on what is needed, using sourdough batter all the time. I feed the starter every other day and when we're away, I put it in the refrigerator and it has always been fine when we've gotten home and I begin feeding it again.
I am going to have to ask for one of those bread cloches, as I've not been able to achieve a nice crunchy crust like you have. Thanks for the link!
Enjoy the bread!!! (You were correct in your comment on my blog yesterday.....I'm salivating!) ;)

dc said...

Mike, hope you see this, I forgot to mention that my sister uses the sourdough starter and bakes her bread in her dutch oven with the lid on, in the oven. there is the trick of raising it on parchment paper then sliding it into the dutch oven or the clay thingy. Maybe I beter blog about that.

Coffeypot said...

I was in Waterloo in September (Navy Ship Reunion). Sorry I missed you.