You really can't beat a great loaf of bread, which is why we featured Home Baked, a brilliant new book by Danish master baker Hanne Risgaard, way back in issue 6 of The Simple Things.
Home Baked features mouth-watering photos by Thomas Tolstrup throughout, heaps of amazing recipes, and such basics as essential kitchen equipment. Whether you're already a regular home baker, or are just starting out, it's going to inspire you. And what's more, you'll get to eat the results.
Hanne and her team at Skærtoft Mølle, the Risgaards’ farm on Als, an idyllic island in the southeast of Denmark, supply the likes of NOMA in Copenhagen, which has come top in the annual The World's Best Restaurants list an amazing three years in a row.
To whet your appetite, here's one of Hanne's recipes.
Classic Sourdough Bread
- 12 x 18-inch loaf pan with high edges
- 4.4-lb (2-kg) proofing basket
- 300 g white sourdough
- 400 g sifted spelt or wheat flour
- Approx. 500 g water
- All of the starter
- Approx. 500 g sifted spelt or wheat flour
- 20 g salt
If you are looking for classic sourdough bread recipes, there is not much variation to be found. The recipe is strict: white sourdough, flour, water, and salt. As with a basic leavened dough, it is stripped right back to the essentials of bread. This is my version of the famous San Francisco Sourdough that I tasted in California. I have followed the instructions meticulously, but as the sourdough was made by me, this is really a Skærtoft copy of an American classic.
Starter: All ingredients must be at room temperature, approximately 70°F. Mix the sourdough, water, and flour, and beat it thoroughly, thereby adding as much air to the starter as possible. Leave the starter at 50 to 54°F overnight—in other words, not in the fridge!
Dough: Scrape the dough into the mixer bowl. Add the flour, and set the mixer to run for 5 minutes. Then add the salt, and continue the mixing until the dough is satiny and very elastic but also very soft. Scrape the dough into the oiled loaf pan. Dust a little flour on top, and allow to rest for 1 hour.
Lift the dough out onto a floured work surface, gently push it to make a square, fold it in half, turn it through 90°, then stretch it and fold it into thirds. Place the dough in the pan, and let it rest for another hour. Repeat this process twice. It is important to really stretch the dough. You will feel quite clearly that its strength and elasticity improve with each round of folding.
After the final resting period, turn the dough out onto a floured work surface. Shape into a tight loaf, place in a floured proofing basket—top side down—and let it proof until it’s nearly doubled in volume, 3 to 4 hours.
Preheat the oven, with baking stone, to 480°F.
Transfer the loaf onto a dusted peel. Score the dough in a check pattern. Generously mist the oven, then load the bread into the hot oven. After 10 minutes, lower the heat to 390°F, and bake for 30 to 45 minutes more.