Don't freak out looking at the pictorial....it is just broken in parts so a beginner can do it with no(or less) confusion. It's pretty easy considering that I've failed a few times and came up with a no-fail recipe. I guarantee it!
Ingrediemts needed are pretty much what we always have ready. Theres nothing much to it. Really! What gives this bread a 'tang' is what we need to have ready a day in advance.
Mix together 1/2 cup all purpose flour, 1/2 cup warm water, 1/2 cup yogurt and 1 tsp yeast(optional) and let sit for 12-24 hrs.
I left mine for a full 24 hrs.
At this point you can do one of two things:
a) take half and follow rest of the procedure with it or share/discard the second half
b) keep the second half & feed half cup water and 1/2 cup flour and let sit 24 hrs for another day of bread making/pancakes/muffins/scones etc.
It can also be saved in refrigerator, loosely covered and keep feeding it every week and this lasts good for a whole year( some bakers say, indefinitely) provided, u take half out and add half cup of each water and flour, religiously. That is another topic with a longer explanation and for another day.
So here's my starter all mixed in & ready to work its magic.
This is how it looks next day. Add 1 1/2 cup flour and 3 cups water and mix well.
This is how it looks after 12 hrs. Let it sit 12 more hrs to get the tang.
24 hrs later, you will see a well fermented batter.
Add 2 to 2 1/2 cups of flour, 3 tbsp olive oil, 2 tsp salt, 1tsp sugar and mix well to make a pliable dough.
This is how your dough should look like....non sticky and smooth.
5-6 hrs later, the dough has doubled up in volume. You'll know it is ready when you poke a hole at the center & the dent stays in.
Take a look at the beautiful gluten that was working hard to make it look like this...stretchy, yeasty smell & pliable. Its time to punch it down, shape into whatever your heart desires. Typically a loaf, baguette, Boule or rolls.
I shaped mine into lump (talk about being lazy. In my defense, all the wait for the dough to be ready was tiring enough!). Set aside for 1 hr (OR until it has doubled up in volume) to proof( second rise).
Mist the risen dough with water (for crisp crust) and bake for 17- 20 mins @ 450F. For a better color, use beaten egg white as a wash instead of water.
My baked bread sort looked pale...sigh! I wasn't happy with the color but the taste was 'to die for'. The smell that filled my kitchen was amazing. Absolutely a keeper recipe for us, I'll work at it to achieve the color as well as I see many more breads coming out of my oven.
* A well baked bread should sound hollow when tapped on and the crust should feel crisp when poked. Yeah, I can be crazy like that!
Now admire the beautiful bread, pat yourself on the back and bite into the bread with a pat of butter.