Baking bread from scratch is daunting, but have patience and the results will be worth it, says Eric Kayser.
Want to have a try at home? Here is one of top French chef Kayser’s recipes.
(Makes two loaves, each about 615g)
Mixing & kneading: 8min
First rising: 1hr
300g (2 cups) dark rye flour
150g (1 1/4 cups) all-purpose (plain) flour
50g (generous 1/4 cup) pre-cooked bulgur wheat
500g (generous 2 cups) water at 80F (25C)
120g liquid sourdough starter (or 25g/2tbsp dry sourdough starter)
10g (2tsp) salt
60g (1/4 cup) clear honey
40g (1/4 cup) mixed seeds (anise, coriander, fennel, and caraway)
Butter for greasing
lYou will need two loaf pans with sliding lids, each 6 1/2 x 3 x 3 inches (17 x 7.5 x 7.5 cm). Alternatively, use ordinary loaf pans, although you won’t get the same oblong shape.
lIf kneading in a stand mixer: Put the two flours, bulgur wheat, water, starter, salt and honey in the bowl. Knead with the dough hook for four minutes at low speed, then for four minutes at high speed. Add the mixed seeds towards the end of the kneading time, and knead until the mixture is creamy.
lIf kneading by hand: Put the two flours and the bulgur wheat in a mixing bowl and make a large well in the centre. Pour in half the water, starter, salt and honey. Mix well, then add the remaining water and knead until all the flour is incorporated. Add the mixed seeds and knead until the mixture is creamy.
lCover the bowl with a damp cloth and leave the dough to rest for one hour. It will have increased in volume by the end of the rising time.
lButter the loaf pans and their lids. Fill them two-thirds full with the dough and smooth the surface. Close the lids and leave to proof for 16-20 hours, by which time the dough will have expanded to almost fill the pans.
lPreheat the oven to 230F (110C). Make sure the lids are on securely and bake for six hours.
lRemove from the oven, turn out the loaves, and leave to cool on a wire rack.
The Larousse Book Of Bread: Recipes To Make At Home, by Eric Kayser, is published by Phaidon, priced £24.95. Available now