So one of my first blog posts just had to be about bread. Everyone loves it and what's better than fresh bread straight from the oven? Although I don't eat it very often, when I do it has to be really good, homemade even better! Sourdough has to be my favourite and this overnight bread is as close as it gets without all the fiddly bits of starters.
Imagine this with smashed avocado, roast cherry tomatoes and some perfectly poached eggs. The dream breakfast. When I made this I had some honeycomb (the fresh stuff) from a shoot so I cut off a chunk of it and smushed it onto the bread, brought me right back to my childhood when I used to love all the simple things. I have often been reminded of how much I loved crackers with butter and honey and this was as good as, no butter needed!
I started off using a good quality strong flour which I either pick up in the health food shop or supermarket, you can use either wholemeal or plain strong flour. I have tested both as you can see from the images but I prefer the regular flour rather than the wholemeal, it give a lighter more airy bread. I like to use organic where possible, I feel the better cared for the crop is, the better it will be for me. That's my theory on it anyway. Despite the wholemeal load not rising as much it was so full of flavour.
To this I added sea salt, I use sea salt flakes as they're much more pure than other salt you can get. I add a sprinkle to the top aswell along with the flour before baking. Salt helps dry out the crust of the bread to give it a lovely crunch. I learnt this tip along the way working in pastry kitchens, you could sprinkle some sugar on top too this helps to caramelise the top but not essential in this case.
The handiest yeast you'll get is dried yeast in sachets, however you can buy in a tin or fresh yeast but it's much harder to find. I use the sachets, there's no waste or measuring required and works well for this loaf.
You need to make sure your water is luke warm before adding it to the flour and yeast, if it's too hot it'll kill the yeast and prevent it from rising. simply combine everything in a large bowl, mix until fully incorporated, cover with cling film and leave to rest overnight. How easy is that! No need for kneading!
The dough is a bit different to usual yeast doughs, it's pretty wet when its's going into the crockpot to bake but this lends to its flavour and moistness once baked. Make sure to use small/medium sized crockpot or else the bread will turn out too flat if the base of the crockpot is too large, the lides are what gives it its shape. I used an oval shaped one here but use whatever shape you have.
450g strong flour, plus extra to dust
2 x 7g sachets dred yeast
1 tsp sea salt, plus extra for on top
350ml warm water (use 75 ml extra if using wholemeal).
2 tbsp olive oil
Stir all dry ingredients together in a large bowl, slowly incorporate the water and oil, mix until the mixture comes together, it should be a sticky dough. Cover with cling film and leave at room temperature for at least 12 hours.
Heat oven to the highest it will go, I cooked mine at 220 Fan. Pop in a medium sized crockpot to heat, this needs to be really hot so leave it in for 30 minutes, taking care when you are removing.
Remove from the oven and tip in the dough, sprinkle with some flour and sea salt flakes. Put on the lid and place in the oven to bake for 45 minutes, remove the lid and cook for a further 10 minutes.
This bread is so delicious and easy to make, great to use for the tastiest brekkies. In the images above I topped mine with various toppings, but seriously tasty just as it is, tear off a chunk and off you go. I'd love to hear how you get on.
Happy baking and brunching!