A slice of good quality bread with cheese has always been a treat to me. As a child, I'd rather skipped my diner instead of my breakfast or lunch. This hasn't changed. What did change was the kind of breads I like. Instead of the white bread I used to love, I nowadays prefer the bread with coarse grains and seeds in it.
After trying out the basic Hearth Bread of Rose Levy Beranbaum a few times, I've ad spelt and flaxseed to give it the taste and texture I like most. I was very surprised by the taste and texture of this bread. It kept soft and nice for 4 days.
When you make the sponge the evening before the baking, it gets time to ferment in the fridge while you're asleep.
Rose's Hearth Bread with spelt
156 gr. bread flour
36 gr. whole wheat flour
1.25 gr. (3/8 tsp.) instant yeast
9 gr. (1 1/4 tsp. clear honey
322 gr. water at room temperature.
100 gr. whole spelt flour
190 gr. bread flour
2 tbsp. flax seeds
1.6 gr. (1/2 tsp.) instant yeast
10 gr. (1 1/2 tsp.) salt
Put al the ingredients for the sponge in a large bowl and whisk it till it's a smooth thick batter. This will take about 2 minutes. Combine all the ingredients for the flourmixture, except the salt, and cover the sponge with it. It must be completely covered. Cover the bowl and leave it in the fridge or a cold shed.
During it's stay in the cold, the yeast starts to work very slowly and the sponge works itself from downunder to the upperside of the bowl. In the meantime the flavour of the bread is developing. And you know what? At this moment you haven't got to do anything but dreaming of delicious wel-risen bread. Who says breadbaking is tough labour?
The next day, take the bowl out of the fridge or shed and leave it for an hour at roomtemperature. Mix the sponge and flourmixture just enough to make a moist dough (2 minutes), cover it and leave it to rest (autolyse) for about 25 minutes. Now add the salt and knead the dough in 7 minutes. It still is a bit sticky but that's allright. Put it in a large oiled bowl, cover it and leave it (at roomtemperature) till it's doubled in size. This will take about an hour.
Take the dough out of the bowl and lay it on a floured counter. Flatten it just a little bit with your hands till it's the shape of a rectangle but don't slam it; it's not necessary. Give it a businessletter turns and leave it to rise in the oiled bowl again. This time it needs less time to double in size (30 - 45 minutes).
Turn the dough out onto a floured counter again and shape it into the form you wish. I prefer forming the dough into a ball and leave it to rise in a well floured banneton. Cover it and leave it 45 minutes to rise almost until doubled. In the meantime: pre heat the oven to 476 dgr. F.(250 dgr. C.) Turn the dough onto a baking sheet and slash it with a sharp knife or razor blade. Bake for 10 minutes at the lowest level and lower the temperature to 425 dgr. F. (220 dgr. C.).
(adapted from The bread bible by Rose Levy Beranbaum)