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Idle hands are the devil's tools

Starting this blog with a more serious title than the lovely flowers last time, but very appropriate in the current times. This very dramatic saying that "laziness leads to boredom and boredom could lead to individuals acting irresponsible which can have serious consequences", or more bluntly said: "boredom could lead you to doing stupid things". I still believe in the good of people and for sure after the first week and a half of forced isolation, it is human nature that the change of lifestyle brings some mood swings and readjustments. Keeping busy is most people's mantra and I agree. If not working from home overcoming Skype problems, it will be painting, following online courses, puzzling, watching your TV series you always wanted to watch, "Killing Eve" from the BBC in my case, or taking on a new hobby.

Bread baking is my new hobby. It is just so rewarding to produce something that is cheap, delicious and the smell in the house is amazing. Actually, as the Italians may well know, it is a necessity as for past 2 weeks we cannot get yeast in the supermarket and flour is getting scarcer. I started making my own "self starter" or "leaven" just before the quarantine. A more religious person would maybe argue it was an omen. I just see it as a coincidence. By the way it looks like a lot of work, but has more to do with planning your time rather than effort. Well what has this all to do with English teaching you may ask. See it as my way of offering something else to read that you actually immediately can use. Look up unknown terms and apply the language and end up with a lovely bread. , I am very happy to share my sourdough bread recipe with you. I did cheat a bit with "starting" my leaven. Enjoy! Marleen @EnglishaFirenze.com


Making the leaven, self starter

I cheated...

  • 1 pack of "Pasta madre disidratata con lievito "( from the supermarket) - for non Italians use "fresh yeast" available in most supermarkets;

  • Add 50 gr white flour, 50 gram whole meal flour

  • Add roughly 50 ml lukewarm water (maybe more), mix to get a sticky mixture

  • Leave out of the fridge for 1,5 day

  • Than transfer to the fridge (for 2 to 3 days before using it)

  • It will smell "yeasty" and you see bubbles/air

  • When you have used the leaven, feed it with 30-50 gr of the flour (white flour is ok), add a bit more water to keep the same consistency. Leave it a couple of hours out of the fridge to help the fermentation on it's way.


Sourdough Bread - Ingredients & Baking instructions

Medium size bread

600 ml lukewarm water

140 gr of self starter

600 gr of white flour

200 gr of whole meal of grey flour

1 teaspoon of salt

Baking 20 minutes with the lid on, 25 min without the lid

Preheat 240 degrees with empty pot (oval Creuset Pot, or also known as a Dutch Oven)

Baking on 200 degrees Celsius

How do you do it? The whole process.

First mix

  • Mix water with starter and dissolve the leaven (self starter)

  • Add all flour and mix till wet sticky dough (with your fingers)

  • Fold the dough from the bottom over and over again till more smooth, not normal kneading

  • Add the salt (sea salt preferably)

  • Fold the dough over again for a few minutes, notice that the consistency changes.

Rising

  • Form in ball and let stand for 35 minutes with a towel on the top at normal room temperature

  • Fold the dough again from the bottom 4 or 5 movements (no kneading), leave it in the bowl

  • Repeat this for another 4 or 5 time (total 3 to 4 hours)

  • Take the dough out of the bowl and add some flour on your work space and fold the dough in a good shaped ball. No kneading but folding from the bottom to the middle and then turn around to form a ball

  • Shake off additional flour, don't knead more flour into the dough.

  • Put in round bowl, use sufficient baking paper, then put a tea towel on top and put in the fridge overnight

Baking

  • Do not knead the dough anymore but drop the dough gently (do use the baking paper) in the preheated pot

  • Score the top with a sharp knife as you like it, or use scissors

  • Bake as described in the instructions, do not forget to lower the heat to 200° degrees

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