After letting my starter sit over night in the fridge, the actual bread making process began. First I had to pull the starter out of the fridge at least an hour early to get it warmed up. Than I added more water and flour to create the actual dough (above picture) This dough had to be kneaded for 15 straight minutes. Talk about an arm workout! After that there was more waiting for the dough to rise. I realized during this process that half of bread making is the waiting. After a few hours of rising, during which my dough didn’t even actually rise, I split the dough into two halves and shaped them into loafs. Then, you guessed it, more waiting. The dough had to sit out over night for the individual loaf dough to rise.
Finally Baking Day! After what felt like an eternity of waiting it was finally time to actually make bread. The baking process that I used for this bread sounds a little strange. An important part to developing a good crust on a bread is a good incorporation of steam. In order to get the most steam possible, I put a baking dish with water on the top shelf of my oven while I was preheating it. I preheated the oven an extra 50 degrees to compensate for the loss of heat that was about to happen in my next step. Once the oven is preheated I placed in my dough and used a spray bottle to spray water along the sides of the hot oven. Then I closed the oven door for 30 seconds and then repeated the process 2 more times. I learned from my research that although it is strange, spraying the walls of the oven is the best way to get a lot of steam in the first moments of cooking which is crucial to having a good crust. I find it funny how the whole process of making bread takes at least a week yet the actual baking part only takes about 20 minutes. So 20 minutes later…. TA DA! We finally have bread.
Overall I’m pretty sure my dough did not successfully rise enough. Also, I was really worried that the middle of my bread was going to be under cooked, thank goodness it wasn’t. Like all sour dough bread, the crust was pretty hard and thick but it wasn’t impossible to eat. Although my bread wasn’t great the flavor was still really good and it made a great picture! I am actually really proud of my first attempt at bread and I honestly feel like it was really successful.