Being one of the most widely consumed foods all around the world, bread was central to the formation of early societies. In Hungary, we celebrate the festival of new bread on 20 August. Thanks to an artisan Budapest bakery, Három Tarka Macska, we'll share a traditional bread recipe with you.
- 350 g wheat flour for bread stoneground, if possible
- 210 g water
- 8 g salt
- 200 g ripe leaven
In a large bowl, mix flour and water, stir to combine them well. Then knead it for 5 minutes.
Cover the dough, leave it to rest for around 1 hour, then add the salt and the leaven, and knead again for 7-10 minutes until satin smooth and mildly soft.
Tip the dough onto a lightly floured surface and knead slowly, forming a ball. Cover with clean cloth and leave it to rest for around 2 hours at room temperature. After the first hour, carefully fold the dough, after the second, form a round loaf and place it upside down in a heavily floured proofing basket.
Put a thin layer of flour on top of the dough, and keep it covered for around 12 hours in 10-12°C. (Wine coolers are perfect for the purpose.)
Before baking, preheat the oven to 240-250°C, and heat a thin tray on the lowest temperature.
Take the dough out of the proofing basket, place it on wax paper on top of a tray, and decorate it with a knife, cutting a 2-3 cm deep cross on the surface. When baking, use the middle rack of your oven, and pour a glass of water into the tray so that enough steam is created for the bread baking process. Close the oven door and bake your bread for 40 minutes until dark brown.
After baking, leave the bread to rest for 40 minutes at room temperature on a grid, so that its bottom can breathe too.