I Have Become A Bread God
I achieved a dream I've had ever since I was a young boy of just 32 years of age. I have made my first ever loaf of sourdough bread. People told me my dream was impossible. I told them... nuh uh. Well look who was right doubter magoos!
yeah that's right baby, I made that! But I would be lying if I said it was easy. If you don't know a lot about baking sourdough... don't worry. I didn't either. But this past New Year I decided in lieu of making any resolutions, I was instead going to just pick a skill I didn't possess... and attempt to... you know... possess it by years end. I settled on learning to bake sourdough for a couple reasons. 1. I love bread. and 2. My friend Pat has been making it for a couple years and I was very jealous.
Step one in my journey was to spend about three weeks watching wise ladies on YouTube telling me all about sourdough starters and equipment and processes and other various things that largely went right over my head.
Step two... was to aquire a bunch of baking things I needed and didn't have. My friend Pat (or as he will be referred to from here on out "Obi Bread Kenobi") got me a proofing basket, a digital scale, and some measuring cups for my birthday. I then bought myself a Dutch Oven. And yes... I also giggled when hearing the word Dutch Oven because until a couple of weeks ago I also thought it was just the farting in blankets thing.
Step three... was the creation of my sourdough starter. A tricky bit of alchemy that involves mixing flour and water together and leaving it to ferment on your counter for a couple weeks while feeding it fresh flour and water every day. I was blown away on day three of the starter process when my starter... actually looked like the starter in the various "how to make starter" videos I had watched. Filled with pride at the living thing I had created, I named my bread child The Prodigy and moved on to attempting to bake my first loaf.
Step four... was mixing the dough into a thing called shaggy dough. I forgot to take a picture of it. But imagine dough... but shaggy... and you'll have a good idea of what it was.
Step five... I left that on the counter under a dinner plate for four hours while I went to centennial park to enjoy the High on Ice festivities. I ate soup and listened to local musician Adam Winn play tunes. It was wild.
Step six.... I began a process called coil folding. Which is literally just folding the dough in on itself a couple times every 30 minutes for three hours. It looked like this after that process.
Step seven was to put it in a thingy called a banneton basket. Then I stuck that thingy into the fridge overnight.
Step Eight... was to begin the baking. I won't lie... I was nervous. My dough didn't look as glorious as my brain and the YouTube videos had lead me to believe it would. Fortunately Obi Bread Kenobi told me it looked fine. "That lady who made the video was baking her 4732nd loaf of bread Kier. You're baking your first. It's going to be great" is what wise master Bread Kenobi said.
Emboldened by this wisdom I put a slash into it for venting purposes. (no I don't know what that means. I just did it because that's what the recipe said to do.)
I had preheated my oven as high as it goes put the dough in the preheated Dutch Oven, and started praying to the bread gods as I closed the oven door.
Side note... I've been very afraid of my oven for a while. It was pretty dirty and I didn't get around to cleaning it until a week ago. I honestly half expected my house to catch fire in this baking attempt. I had a go bag by the door just in case. And no... that's not a joke. My house didn't catch fire. Nor did the oven. It didn't even smoke. So I'm now brave enough to be using this oven way more than I have been.
After thirty minutes it was time to take the lid off of the Dutch Oven as the covered bake was complete. And holy smokes... this thing was looking like bread! Obi Bread Kenobi was right! I hadn't screwed it up yet!
But it wasn't done yet. Without the lid I put it back in the oven for another 20 minutes in order to brown up the crust. I took it out of the oven... and wouldn't you believe it... it looked like bread!
Now came the hardest part... leaving the bread to rest for an hour before cutting into it. If you don't let it rest for an hour apparently the whole thing will be gummy inside. The hour ticked by and I prepared to film a video of me cutting into it. Unbeknownst to me I had dragged my Facebook friends into my dream. I'd been talking and posting pictures of my ongoing bread adventure for about a month at this point (I'm a millenial. Everything I do is for "the Gram" so sue me) I had many people as anxious as me for the result. And it was only fair to share my success OR my failure with them in real time. If I've figured out this website editing interface you should be able to watch the video in this article somewhere. If I haven't done it properly (very likely the case) I'll just share the video to the Bear Facebook page for you.
Suffice it to say... I accomplished my dream! I did it! They said I couldn't do it and I said you better believe I can! And best of all... I did it all myself. (aside from the ridiculous amount of text message help from Obi Bread Kenobi of course) Never let the naysayers tell you that you can't my friend. Dream those dreams. And before you know it... you too will ascend to the rank of Bread God. I believe in you. Now go make yourself some carbs!
-Kier "Bread God" White