No-Knead Method for Artisan Bread Baking: The Salt and Fold Method – Part 2

nokneadbreadTESTING

Leaven Testing and Mixing

The best test for determining whether or not your leaven is ready to mix with is what is known as the “float” test. It’s pretty simple: take a fist full of leaven and place it in a bowl of water. If it floats, the leaven has enough aeration and bacterial activity to put levity into your bread. If your leaven sinks, put it back in the bowl and place in a warm spot for another hour or so. After 12 hours, your leaven will almost always be ready to go; however, during colder seasons it may take up to 15 hours. One way around this time difference is to build your leaven with slightly warmer (never hot!) water. This will speed along the fermentation.

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Mason

Mason

Mason is a recent graduate of Augustana College and a die-hard foodie. He has a degree in philosophy, but also worked in a bakery using sourdough to produce bread with incredible flavor and texture. Apart from fermentation, he is fond of music, black coffee, nice wine, and thoughtful books.

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No-Knead Method for Artisan Bread Baking: The Salt and Fold Method – Part 1

nokneadbreadLEAVEN

Building a Leaven

A “leaven” is a combination of flour and water that has been inoculated with a portion of a sourdough starter. In our bakery, building a leaven to mix with was crucial to avoid putting stress on the starter by using and feeding it in mass quantities. A leaven essentially acts as a medium between the bacteria in your starter and your bread dough that allows you to use smaller amounts of starter to achieve the same result. The leaven will be built the night before you intend to mix, and two days or more before you intend to bake, so plan accordingly.

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Mason

Mason

Mason is a recent graduate of Augustana College and a die-hard foodie. He has a degree in philosophy, but also worked in a bakery using sourdough to produce bread with incredible flavor and texture. Apart from fermentation, he is fond of music, black coffee, nice wine, and thoughtful books.

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No-Knead Method for Artisan Bread Baking: Introduction

nokneadbread1

This is a method a friend of mine and I developed at our bakery. It took a lot of trial and error, but over time we developed a process that both took the strain off of our bodies and yielded some professional-quality artisan bread. This method is an adaptation on the folding method that has been used by several professional bakeries, with our own unique twists…. 

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Mason

Mason

Mason is a recent graduate of Augustana College and a die-hard foodie. He has a degree in philosophy, but also worked in a bakery using sourdough to produce bread with incredible flavor and texture. Apart from fermentation, he is fond of music, black coffee, nice wine, and thoughtful books.

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The Nixtamalization of Corn: an Historic Practice

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I find it interesting that our society has taken what has been a nourishing food eaten at most meals for generations and turned it into one of the most toxic ingredients in our food chain. Now corn is in everything and in many strange forms. As a sweetener it is prevalent, as a filler it is everywhere, and as a GMO grain it fills our grocery stores. But it wasn’t always like this. Heirloom corn was eaten in South America for generations with good results, but this corn was nixtamalized.

The nixtamalization of corn isn’t exactly a culturing process. It is, however, a historic means by which a society improved the quality of their raw ingredients, making them more digestible and unlocking certain nutrients for better health.

In those terms, nixtamalization isn’t that far off from fermentation. The process isn’t all that different from souring grains, either, in that time and liquid are involved.

The other key ingredient is lime, and not the citrus fruit. Let’s take a closer look at this age-old practice and which common corn foods can be made from them…. 

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Shannon

Shannon is a mama to four small children, homesteader, freelance writer, and picture-taker. She lives with her husband on their off-grid homestead where they make and eat kefir, kombucha, sourdough, and fermented vegetables.

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