Everyone bakes for a reason. For some people it’s to literally put bread on the table. For some it’s a fun way to spend a few hours. For me, however, it’s about expressing my creativity in a form that is hopefully enjoyable and sometimes unexpected. Take this week’s bake, for example. I started out with just a few spare hours and ended up with something I had never baked or seen before.
Most of the time, before baking, I like to research a loaf and learn what others have done to achieve a successful bake. Be it extended fermentation in the refrigerator or spritzing the loaf with water before baking, there’s always something to be learned from others. That’s why I surprised even myself when I decided to just “wing it” with this bake.
Since my starter hadn’t been refreshed yet, I decided to make a nice loaf with a tad of black pepper for a little extra ‘oomph’. After baking and tasting it, I thought “wow, that’s not too bad! I bet others have tried this too.” After going online and looking it up, I did see a few variations (which look amazing, and even better!) of a sourdough loaf with thyme and black pepper. I might have to try those next time but for now, this is how this loaf came together.
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This is a loaf that can be put together and ready to serve in less than 4 hours – I call this a ‘relatively quick’ bread and will file it under ‘easy’.
- 500g ap flour
- 300g water
- 50g apple juice
- 1 tbs black pepper
- 1.5 tsp sugar
- 1 tsp active dry yeast
- t tsp salt
- Combine the flour, water, juice, sugar and the yeast and mix until incorporated. Let sit for 5 minutes and mix in the salt & pepper.
- Place the dough in a bowl and cover until the dough roughly doubles in size, about an hour-ish.
- Remove the dough and place it on a lightly floured surface and pre-shape the dough. Let it rest for 5 minutes to allow the dough to relax a bit.
- Turn on your oven and pre-heat to 425˚F
- Shape you dough and place it in your proofing basked and let the dough proof for another 45 minutes or so.
- When your dough and the oven are ready, turn the dough on to a floured peel, score, and load the bread in the oven.
- Turn the bread after about 20 minutes and let it finish baking, another 15-20 minutes.
- Let cool and enjoy!