Monday, November 23, 2015

a very long rise

I once heard Claus Meyer say - talking about bread - that you should let it rise for twenty four hours if you had to. I'm glad he said it and even gladder that it stuck with me.

Saturday I mixed up some dough for oat bread from Kneadlessly Simple. It was already afternoon, and without thinking, I used cold water which is what I usually do, but the night before. The dough, which contained just one teaspoon of yeast for two medium sized loaves, wasn't going anywhere. I knew I didn't want to end up having to bake it in the middle of the night, so into the fridge it went. I removed it before bed - between nine and ten o'clock, but in the morning it was still just like a lump. The thought came to me to toss it, but I said No! I had the three days off in a row - it had to rise sometime! I would just wait. Consequently, that first rise took all Sat. night and most of Sunday to happen. I then deflated it and put it in two loaf pans for the overnight.

This picture was taken maybe midday today. And I still waited a couple of hours more before baking. The total rising time for this bread not counting refrigerator time, was a day and a half!

In the midst of all this waiting and checking I realized the house was two degrees cooler than I thought, so I turned up the heat. So there were several factors involved there.

Meanwhile, I was so busy cleaning, etc., that I actually forgot I was baking bread and when the oven timer went off the loaves looked almost burnt. But I will tell you: they aren't burnt, and what with all that slow rising, so much flavor developed that it. is. truly. delicious.  And these are the things I find so fascinating about baking bread.


  1. I loved this post and what you learned about bread making (I hope I remember this lesson!). Your writing here reminded me of Gladys Taber's, who is a favorite of mine. In one of her books she talks about baking souffles and also lemon meringue pies over and over again until she learned their secrets and mastered them. So much of what happens in the kitchen (and in the garden for that matter ) requires just that method of careful attention to detail and trying again.

    1. Susan, what a Thanksgiving gift - to be likened to Gladys Taber! la la la and twiddle dee dee..... !
      But yes - this was a good recipe anyway, but now - except I'm not sure I can always take this much time with bread. Still, what I like most is being able to make it all in one day, or over several. And knowing how. (not that I don't mess it up regularly)

  2. There is nothing quite like baking fresh bread. I am happy you've been experimenting and that its been going so well--and tasty!

  3. I baked some bread yesterday, a sourdough, using some refrigerated injera batter (Ethiopian flat bread). I used some yeast I had opened a few weeks ago that was waiting in the fridge for its heyday into the next loaf. It was barely risen after an hour. I decided I used too little yeast (when you bake regularly you have natural yeast in the air, but I guess I misjudged.) I sprinkled in a bit more, probably against ever rule. It improves, but not dramatically. It became a day long process. I left it in the oven and directed my daughter when to take it out. I wasn't home for dinner, but at breakfast my kids told me the bread was REALLY good.
    Another adventure in bread baking! Lol

    Mama to 8
    One homemade and 7 adopted

    1. Yeah, I guess you really can use very little, as long as you're willing to wait!