After a long shitty week of constant, bad news… health, financial, you name it; I’m stressed about it! – I’ve finally got light at the end of the tunnel. Slowly, things start to look up in life, no matter how terrible they might seem in the moment. I guess I’m a bit of a worry-wart to boot, so that never helps me (or anyone else around me for that matter). No matter how bad ya got it today “someone else out there has it worse than you”. Truer words have never been spoken. Without the dark you can’t appreciate the light. This is part of the reason I love cooking and baking at home.
Food is basic. Food is essential.
If your food is made with high quality ingredients and ends up tasting really delicious; excellent, that’s the cherry on top! But really… just the act of cooking and baking is by far, the best part for me. To buzz around the kitchen, making an honest-to-god SHYTE MESS, and to be focused for those few moments on, purely, the essentials in life. Whatever is worrying you or wracking your brain, can be cured by remembering what’s truly important. Basics.
What do you really need in life? Food, shelter, and a little lovin’. You’ll be fine.
This particular therapy session/loaf of bread I’m sharing with you today, is one that I’ve been wanting to make for the last two weeks. And it’s GREAT. Turned out famously. It does take the better part of an afternoon to proof properly though, so don’t rush this one. If you’re attempting to make it- make sure there isn’t much else going on in your day that will pull you away from it. The multiple kneads and bench-resting of the dough, are important for the development of proper texture for the finished loaf.
I swear this loaf tastes better if you gaze at it through a camera lens, with natural sunlight showing off it’s perfect crumb (as above). Or, maybe… not. You’ll have to try it for yourself.
1 1/2 cups toasted rye flour (400 F in the oven for 15 mins will do the trick)
2 cups bread flour
3/4 tsp fine sea salt
1 1/2 cups pickle juice and room temperature
1/2 tsp dry yeast
small amount of warm water to dissolve yeast
2 sprigs fresh dill
Mix together your dry ingredients, set aside.
Dissolve your yeast in water.
Add pickle juice to dry ingredients, knead with hands until half combined, then add dissolved yeast mixture and continue kneading for 2 mins until dough is holding together. (It will be rustic looking, not smooth!) At this point set the dough aside, covered, for 15 mins.
After it’s rested 15 mins, remove it from bowl onto an oiled counter top, oil your hands, and knead the dough lightly until it’s smooth and slightly elastic. Again, this is a very sticky dough, do not attempt to use flour to knead with, as it will absorb the flour and change the dough completely. Oil will do the trick just fine. After 30 seconds of kneading, your dough will look like…
Allow to rest another 15 mins, then remove and knead once again for 30 seconds, and allow to sit aside for an entire hour. (Oiled and draped with a piece of plastic wrap, of course.)
After an hour of bench resting, divide the dough into two portions, and with a little more oil; gently roll into two boules/balls. Set aside at room temp, yet again, for another 45 mins to an hour, or until the boules have doubled in size. At this point- place in center of oven and bake for about 20-25 mins before rotating the tray. Bake another 20 mins approx, or until the loaves are golden in colour and sound hollow when tapped on their bottoms with your fingers <— this is the ‘method’ for testing the doneness of your bread! Never fails.
And the finished product is… GLORIOUS. I know, you don’t have to tell me.
So the truth is; today I will be eating this bread with some homemade ‘Doukhobor Borscht’ from my hometown of Grand Forks, British Columbia.
BUT…. that is a big, fat, long, story for another day. And I WILL be writing about it and sharing it with you- in my next post! How could I not?
Until next time, HAPPY-PICKLE-JAR-DRAINING!