Give Us Our Bread Daily…

I am a bread snob. Why? Because I grew up in a country where you can survive on bread alone for months at a time, and not get sick of it.  Because our local bread store had freshly baked, still steamy and hot bread delivered twice a day.  Because our bread varieties were many, flavors were plenty, and freshness was the first and foremost priority.

47% Rye Bread from Wild Yeast Blog

We were buying bread every day. If we were lucky enough to score ‘just-off-the-bread-truck-fresh’ loaves, we’d always purchase extra, because walking one-and-a-half blocks from the bakery to the house were enough to devour that extra, or at least pinch the delectable crust off of it. We had white, sourdough white, rye, gray, black, and everything in between. The loaves had names.  Our bread stores were self-serve, and special long neck forks were provided for customers to probe the loaves for freshness and crustiness.  No one ever thought of packing the bread in plastic “to lock in the freshness” for long term storage.  Even now, after fifteen years of living in the States, the idea of packaged long-shelf-life bread makes me chuckle: those bleak looking pre-cut loaves with a texture of a cotton ball and no taste, no matter how much corn syrup you put in them, are a disgrace to the very essence of what bread really is — a living bold spirited yet peaceful creature, a product of miraculous transformation of powdered grain consumed by yeast.

A grainy picture of my very first sourdough bread

Since I’ve started my all-things-fermentation streak, making wild yeast sourdough has been on my mind.  I did some sourdough experimentation last year, when a friend shared a “secret” of rye bread starter with me.  I learned early on that bread requires patience and persistence, just like gardening — you do your job, and the nature will take care of the rest.  Things should not be rushed if you want truly good results.  And of course, if you want the nature to do its job, you need ingredients that are as close as possible to nature — unbleached unenriched organic flour, chlorine free water, unrefined salt, whole grains and freshly ground seeds and spices.  And of course, wild yeast, naturally occurring … well, everywhere really.

Some wild fermented Challah breads I baked last year

The purpose of this article is not posting a recipe, but rather make the home made bread noticed.  It’s very well worth the effort and is far superior to whatever you find in stores.  If you are lucky to have a good traditional bakery nearby, this may be not for you, but if you are like me, a fan of making things from scratch and learning about traditional methods of food preparation, making a loaf at home should be on your list of things to try.

A close up of a roasted pumpkin sourdough with cranberries and pumpkin seed

A couple of websites I found which may be helpful:

Wild Yeast Blog — http://www.wildyeastblog.com

The Fresh Loaf — http://www.thefreshloaf.com

Food Wishes – http://foodwishes.blogspot.com – make a search for bread, this guy has lots of instructional videos.

A very nice write up on wild yeast bread in Russian — http://forum.say7.info/topic3949.html — this lady definitely knows her stuff.

And of course, more bread photos of mine, right here: More Bread Photos, Please!

Rye sourdough with home made butter

Sourdough English Muffins with home made butter and raw honey

Beautiful rye sourdough is cooling down

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Categories: Baking, Batch Cooking, Better Than Storebought, Bread, Fermentation, Nostalgia, Traditional Nutrition, Well Worth The Effort

Author:Eat Already!

I am a cooking and writing addict born and raised in a cosmopolitan city on the Black Sea coast. Currently my interests include, but not limited to gardening, traditional nutrition, raw milk, fermentation techniques, books by Sitchin, Weston A. Price ideas, artisan bread making, anything handcraft, and many other, quite random, things. I believe in making things from scratch, in unpretentious dishes, visually un-altered food esthetics. I believe in reporting on daily cooking endeavors, not just on special occasion dishes. I believe everyone should learn how to cook at home because it's a great way to connect with your loved ones without saying too much, with your heritage without becoming an archivist, and with the world without learning languages...

78 Comments on “Give Us Our Bread Daily…”

  1. August 17, 2012 at 10:20 am #

    Ahh…there’s nothing like hot, fresh bread. :)

  2. August 17, 2012 at 10:59 am #

    prior to my husband’s recent bread-making obsession, i had no idea so much went into making a loaf of sour dough bread. despite the effort, i don’t think we’ll ever go back to store-bought, preservative-laden loaves. and now that we’re living in mexico, we buy bread fresh daily from a bakery a couple blocks down the road. it’s a carb-lover’s heaven. :)

  3. August 17, 2012 at 11:43 am #

    Yay! Brandon told me about this blog, and I can’t wait to dig in!
    –Beverly

  4. August 17, 2012 at 12:07 pm #

    I love the bread. I have to eat everyday. I tried to make my own bread but I dont know why? I made a hard bread. I change the olive oil for butter but still hard. I saw your photos and look delicious and smooth. How can I do smooth bread. I use flour, 1tsp of salt, 1tsp. of sugar, water, dried yeast, and butter or olive oil. The dough growing very well, doubling the size, that part is good. Can you give me some tips I will appreciate. Thank you.

    • August 20, 2012 at 11:26 pm #

      I don’t use dried yeast. I almost exclusively make breads out of wild sourdough. The smoothness and elasticity I think come from kneading. You have to let the dough develop gluten, which makes the dough chewy and smooth. That means, at least 5-6 minutes of vigorous kneading is required, and sometimes longer.

    • August 21, 2012 at 2:07 pm #

      Oh Thank you

  5. August 17, 2012 at 12:17 pm #

    I’m a gluten free snob :) Udi’s gave me bread. Excellent blog, I really enjoyed your insight. Keep up the good work. Please visit http://www.mynutritioninsight.com for information and disease prevention and healthy food and drink recipes.

  6. August 17, 2012 at 12:17 pm #

    Now I have bread and butter!! :P

  7. girlinshoes
    August 17, 2012 at 1:13 pm #

    Love this post! I also grew up in a country were good bread was adored and appreciated and as a little girl went to my grandfather’s bakery a few times before they closed. Till this day there is nothing better like good and delicious bread. Maybe coffee, but that is a whole other story.

  8. August 17, 2012 at 1:29 pm #

    Firstly congratulations on being freshly baked. (or pressed whatever)
    Bread is very important here in France. I live in the countryside and most of the people are farmers or vintners. For the farmers bread is sacred because it is the only thing that they buy. I soon learnt to respect the bread. It must be placed in a place of honour on the table and NEVER the wrong way up. It is often the only thing on the table not produced on the farm.My bread maker has served me well although I take the dough out to bake it as the loaves are not the right shape for many of my French friends and neighbours.
    Don’t ever forget when in rural France – respect the bread !!

    • August 17, 2012 at 1:44 pm #

      Oh, yes. Russians honor bread, and God forbid you ever turn it upside down, or worse yet stick a knife in it and leave it there. Also Russians never throw the bread out — it’s a sin.

    • August 18, 2012 at 8:47 am #

      Maybe Russians and French are related.

  9. August 17, 2012 at 2:03 pm #

    Oh man! Now I need to get me some of that bread. There’s really nothing I’m gonna think about for the rest of this Friday. You’re a menace—that’s what you are! Congrats on getting Freshly Pressed!

  10. Life & Sunshine
    August 17, 2012 at 2:53 pm #

    My grandma and mother-in-law both make homemade bread and you are RIGHT!! It is so much better than store bought! I guess it is probably time to give it a whirl myself :)

  11. Shira
    August 18, 2012 at 10:44 am #

    Fabulous post! I look forward to checking out those websites – its time I gave sourdough a whirl! Cheers!

  12. holdincornfield
    August 18, 2012 at 11:41 pm #

    Where is this wondrous land of a million breads?

    • August 19, 2012 at 10:52 am #

      Ukraine. When I was growing up it was still a part of USSR

  13. marycheshier
    November 26, 2012 at 6:45 pm #

    Reblogged this on How 2 Be Green.

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