Autumn baking - Fresh bread for friends
Mornings appear a little darker here after we quietly slipped into autumn with little fanfare or apparent change in day-to-day weather. Both Nat and I have been waiting so impatiently for the cool change of a winter’s day. And although we don’t get the biting cold and snow here in Brisbane, it will make such a refreshing change from the sticky humid weather of late.
While initially my baking centred on our home life, there has been an increasing amount of bread being baked for friends. And with each bake I am becoming less and less interested in baking with white flour. For me, one of the most exciting aspects of these bakes has been the opportunity to bake bread for our friends using wholly fresh milled flour.
Saturday was an example of one of these baking days … a bake day that started a few nights earlier. The bake list for Saturday included a batch of Wholewheat banana and choc-chip muffins, Desem Wholewheat x 2, Country Bread x 2, Walnut and Sage Wholewheat x 2 and a Vollkornbrot.
For our desem bread this week I wanted to use the white wheat fresh from my aunt’s farm near Dalby. This meant spending an evening during the week sorting through a kilogram of wheat picking out impurities and non-wheat material. My eyes were certainly a little blurry by the end of this process.
Something I have noticed is the correlation between the how well planned a bake is and the amount of mess I seemingly generate. Let’s just say I am rapidly improving on both counts! And as seems to be my usual process, Friday afternoon was spent milling, sifting, soaking, building starters and then cleaning up. The desem dough was soaked overnight with the salt added ready for mixing first thing in the morning.
When Saturday arrived it felt hot and humid though Nat assures me it wasn’t that bad. The morning sun poured through our kitchen window bumping up the temperatures into the high 20s by breakfast time. This was going to be fast paced day. I mixed the doughs cool but found everything fermented quicker than normal and it was safer to prove the shaped bread in the fridge for and hour or so before baking. My oven is still proving to be a bottle neck in these situations.
It has been sometime since we have cut a loaf still warm from the oven and stopped for lunch to enjoy it. We cut open one of the desem loaves, enjoying one of the best bread experiences we have had in a long time – a simple fresh lunch with many sighs and nods of approval.
By mid afternoon the Vollkornbrot was baking in the slow oven while friends arrived to collect cooling breads. With the kitchen clean, we stopped, sat outside, enjoyed a cup of tea and watched the world race around us for a change.