Friday, August 23, 2013

Soudough Boule w/Balastra Flour

When we talk about comfort food, everyone has one.. or more. 

Comfort food is usually determined by what one had the most when one got sick during his or her childhood days. That particular food evokes the fondest memories. It can be one of the many arrays of noodle dishes, porridge,  conge, and soups, with or sans cream. One thing in common from those dishes is they are all best served hot.

Even though Indonesia has a hot climate, we just cannot get enough of hot, soupy dishes. They just make us feel good though not all are necessarily good for us but who cares. I personally always have different kjinds of soup in our weekly meal rotation. The reason is simple; I’m lazy. Soup is a perfect one pot meal. It’s warming, it’s a flu-buster, it’s a cinch to make, and I really don’t have to wash too many dishes afterwards.

Given all the reasons above, I can be a cheapskate when it comes to ordering soup when we dine out. Come on, I wouldn’t wanna spend money for cream soup. Skip the entrée please; Get the steak out, will you?

But I melt whenever I see chowder served in a bread bowl. I’m a sucker for bread and that is not even a secret. The thing is, I can get very picky when it comes to bread. The point of having chowder or cream soup in a bread bowl is that each has to complement the other. But I usually just eat the soup because the bread bowl tastes bland. So I end up feeling bad for wasting food. My ancestors would laugh at my stupidity for spending money on bad food and then curse me for not finishing my food. Double blasphemy. Dang!

So off I went to take Bonnie out to do her job. That is to make a sourdough boule and I shall use the boule as a soup bowl. You can find the bread formula at Wandering Bread. The only thing I do differently is I use Balastra flour. It’s whole wheat flour with bits of everything good like millet seeds, pumpkin seeds, flax and golden flax seeds, and sesame seeds. How yum and healthy it sounds!

Makes three medium sized bowls or two large ones
150 gr fed sourdough starter
225 gr Balastra flour
200 gr bread flour
275 gr water
10 gr salt
Note: You can use all bread flour if you can’t find Balastra flour

1.  Mix the starter, flour and water. Let it rest for 30 minutes.
2.  Sprinkle the salt over the dough and mix thoroughly using the “stretch and fold in the bowl” technique. Let it rest for 30 minutes.
3.  Repeat the “stretch and fold in the bowl” for 30 strokes. Let it rest for 30 minutes.
4. Do the “stretch and fold in the bowl” for 30 strokes again. Let it rest for 30 minutes.
5. Transfer the dough to a lightly floured board, and do one stretch and fold.
6. Form the dough into a ball and place in a lightly oiled bowl. Note the volume of the dough. Cover the bowl tightly. Let it rest for 30 minutes.
7. Repeat the stretch and fold on the board. Reform the dough into a ball and replace it in the bowl.
8.  Allow the dough to continue fermenting until the volume has increased 50%.
9.  Put the dough into the fridge until the next morning, about 20 hours.

10.Turn the dough out onto a lightly flour surface. Divide into three equal parts and loosely shape into rounds. Let rest for 60 minutes.

11. Shape into boules and left proof for 30 to 45 minutes.

12. Preheat oven to 230C.
13. Slash and load into oven. Bake with steam for 20 minutes, then bake for another 15 minutes, until they are golden brown.

Well... Whaddaya think?

Oh.. The Smell..

The Crust..

I know some of you might be taken aback with the numerous steps and the time it requires. I used to be like that long ago but if I think about wine.. Well, to make good wine time is the essence. I am nothing compared to wine maker. Really. These boules need a mere two days.

Using inexpensive, completely natural ingredients, we all can make high quality bread.

Now all you need to do is prepare your soup, cut a circle on the top of the bread, fill it with soup, then use the top as a dipping.

Filled with a simple vegetable chowder, the whole dish is made with love and served as a nourishment for the body and soul for my family. I may not be able to provide a fancy meal every time, but food is meant to be eaten and act as a vessel for love. 

Cheers from a melodramatic baker,

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