It’s been two years since I first laid my foot in Canada. At that time I was staying in the northern part of Quebec, in Val d’Or, to be more precise. Don’t ask me how I got there… Anyway, I stayed there for three months and was lucky enough to escape before the real winter began.
In the 1920s, gold was discovered in Val d’Or and today it still remains a mining city. For someone like me, who grew up in a country where Alps are 30 mins from the capital and the sea some 150 km southern, Val d’Or seemed like in the middle of nowhere. When I arrived all I could see were the lakes and the forest. And the Transcanadian.
There was a farmers market with great products, but I only discovered it by the end of my stay. And there were some really nice restaurants and cafes in the city. However, there was no bakery. And honestly, after eating toast for a week, I had enough of it. I wanted to eat real bread. I went to the bookstore, bought my self the prettiest book about bread making and started baking my own bread.
I actually never made a sourdough bread before. I only used yeast so far. I really wanted to make it, but has always been a complete failure. I somehow didn’t get it right from my book. So, last week I went to the first food bloggers convention in Ljubljana, called Njam Zgodbe and met Nataša, the author of Zapečenega kruha se največ poje, an amazing blog about bread making. She explained me how she does it and I decided to give it a try once more. This time it definitely was a success. The starter worked and the bread rose.
This sunday I was woken up to the smell of freshly baked chocolate bread. And there is nothing better to put on than some home made beurre sallé.
Bread is something that takes time to get it right. For me this try was a huge success because I did make my own starter. And the bread was crunchy on the outside and soft and moist on the inside. But there’s no shortcut. Just practice and patience…
adapted and taken after Zapečenega kruha se največ poje
Day 1: In a glass jar mix 40 g flour and 40 g water. Let ferment 24 h at room temperature. Use wholegrain or rye flour. Do let air get in.
Day 2: After 22 h it should increase in volume. There should be small bubbles appearing. If not, put it in the warm oven (up to 25°c) for two hours. Then add 20 g flour and 20 g water.
Day 3: After 24 h add 15 g flour and 15 g water. Let it rise (it should double in volume) and use it immediately for baking or put it in the fridge if you intend to use it later.
Now this is your starter. Your base. You can have it as long as you want, but you have to feed it regularly by adding 15 -20 g of flour and water every couple of days, leaving it in the fridge. Before you intend to bake, always add flour and water and let it rise. And don’t forget to put some starter aside for future baking.
The making: So you have your starter done. Now mix 45 g starter with 65 g flour and 65 g water and let it rise. This is what you will use in the bread
Chocolate bread ingredients:
adapted and taken from Pains & Viennoiseries maison
- 70 g raisins
- 70 g dried cranberries
- 50 g chocolate
- 330 g spelt flour
- 8 g salt
- 40 g cocoa
- 170 g sourdough starter
- 250 ml water
- Chop the chocolate and mix with raisins. Set aside.
- Mix dry ingredients: flour, salt and cocoa.
- Mix wet ingredients: sourdough starter and water.
- Put dry ingredients and chocolate raisin mixture into wet ingredients. Mix, cover and let sit 10 mins.
- Flour you work surface and knead the dough. Let aside 10 mins and repeat.
- Sprinkle a kitchen cloth with some flour and put the dough to rise for 3 – 6 h or until it doubles in volume.
- Preheat the oven at 240°c and place in a bowl to create steam.
- Cut couple of lines on the bread, lower the temperature to 220°c and bake for some 30 mins. The bread should sound void if you tap it on the bottom side.
- Don’t hold yourself back: freshly baked bread with salted butter is the best!