Alessio Michelini Photography

Time for a break and wholemeal bread recipe

06 May 2013

Now, before you start to read this post, please play the video above until it's not stuck in your head. This video it was used in the 60s and 70s by italian public television RAI, as an interval in case there were problems with the transmission or in case a naked woman entered the studio in the wrong moment. So please listen this song a few times and then read the rest.
Done? Good. Now you can read the rest of the post.

In the last two days I've been busy shooting in a festival in city centre, called Camden Crawl Dublin, and the result is that now I have to go through about 2000 photos and edit the ones I like, it's not an easy job as in some cases the lights were absolutely crap and this put me in a very bad mood. So I needed to have lunch and take a break, and I cooked this delicious dish with wholegrain pasta with fresh tomatoes, dry tomatoes and capers.

But as the title suggests, I have done (yesterday) some homemade bread as well, which you can see below:

To make this bread is pretty easy, the ingredients are the following:

350gr of wholemeal fine flour
100gr of wholemeal coarse flour
2 tablespoon of good extra virgin olive oil
1 teaspoon of salt (or more if you like salty)
275ml of slightly warm water (I put in the microwave for 30 seconds, it doesn't have to be hot, just a bit warm)
100gr of sourdough (or 2 teaspoons of quick dry yeast and 1 teaspoon of sugar if you don't have the sourdough)

To make it's pretty easy, just put the ingredients in a large bowl, and start to work the dough, with a mixer (if you have it) or with your hands. Work the dough for at least 5 minutes to help the dough to start to develop the gluten, and when you have a nice compact and not too sticky dough, it's time to give the yeast the time to let it work.
If you use the quick yeast, in an hour or two the dough should have doubled the size, if you use the sourdough you will have give more time, I generally leave it for 4 to 6 hours, but don't exceed the 6 hours as the dough will start to become acid if you leave it for too long.
Why use the sourdough instead of the quick yeast? Well, quick yeast is chemical, and it leaves a strong flavour of yeast in the bread, which for me is not very pleasant, while the sourdough doesn't leave any particular flavour and it's 100% natural.
But I understand that keep the sourdough alive is not easy, I can because I bake bread every two days, and I constantly refresh the sourdough, and after almost three months is still wealthy. Plus bear in mind that I'm using a sourdough made with different flours, like spelt, wholemeal, kamut, and others, so the bacteria are used to those flours, but if you used a sourdough made only with white flour, I cannot guarantee the result.
If you want to know how to make sourdough, and you understand italian, you can read this amazing site, made by an Italian that lives in the US, called, a great site with plenty of recipes, and at this link you can find how to make sourdough.
To help the yeast you should put the dough in a warm place, and especially in the winter I suggest you to put the dough in the oven with just the lights on, which is going to warm the oven to about 25/30 degrees, as Vittorio of taught us.
Back to the bread. As I was saying, when the bread doubled its size, it's time to bake it! Preheat the oven at about 190 degrees (celsius), and then bake the bread for about 45 minutes, after that turn off the oven but leave the oven door closed for about 10 minutes, this will help to dry out the remaining water inside the bread. After that your bread is ready!
Now, my stomach is full and I can go back to edit my photos :-)