I have been making my own bread for years now, but only this year I got rid of the bread maker. This has been a liberating experience and I find making bread is now much more fun. I decided to start from scratch by making my own yeast. This is easy, by putting flour in a small bowl and leaving for a few weeks, adding a bit more flour and water every 3 days. The natural yeasts in the flour and atmosphere soon get to work. People have been known to have had their yeast ‘starter’, or ‘mother’, for decades.
Next I put my flour in a bowl with a bit of salt and water with most of the starter. This is mixed up and left all day. I come home from work and after dinner, empty the risen bread into a baking tin and let rise again for a few hours, depending on how warm it is. Then, into the oven it goes.
You may have been told that you need to knead your dough for 10 minutes or so. I have found no need for this, I may knead a bit more flour into the mix if it is a bit wet or if I need to divide it up into tins and rolls. This kneading will only take a minute at most. The actual time it takes me to make bread, including washing up is maybe 15 minutes.
After adzing out the bowl, (as shown in the last post), I used long handled hook knives to finish the inside and a Mora push knife on the outside. I wanted to have a smooth inside as I will be washing this bowl out regularly. The best and quickest way to do this is by scraping. As you can see the shavings are paper thin and leave a very good finish. Scraping is always far quicker and easier than going through the grades of sandpaper, and if you want a smooth finish then learn about scrapers. I will be doing a video on how to sharpen a scraper.
As you may have noticed from my Kuksas, I like handles. The handles on this bowl took a fair amount of time to do. This is one reason that we rarely see handles like this on wooden artefacts.
I also now buy some of my flour in the sack and need to decant from sack into a smaller container. So I made a scoop from a half log of birch.
I have found that even with a busy life, I have easily found time to make all my own wheat bread as well as rye bread for my wife. I even look forward to it. It is hard for me to explain why but it certainly has to do with working with a living organism (yeast) and also, I have control over what goes into my food. Another pleasure of this about being connected to the process of producing natural and slow food. I find a sort of meditation in the making of bread. We, as a culture, are losing connection to meaningful daily work with the hands, the everyday acts of creation. Making my own bread is a way of reclaiming that in another area of my life.