01 May 2020

RICH BUTTERMILK BREAD

The simple, humble buttermilk loaf was the very loaf that began my baking and pâtisserie journey. Over the years, the base recipe has changed a tad, but the affection towards working with dough, the love towards creating new textures and flavours, has not.
This is a lovely little loaf, perfect for any sort of a spread, sweet or savoury; and it is especially nice with homemade stews. Incredibly soft and rich from the butter, it is very rewarding for a bit of work that goes into making it.
Take your time with kneading in the butter, give it patience, and it will reward you with a crispy crust and a supremely soft texture. Let this bread cool down just slightly, just enough to be handled easily, then break it up, don't slice, and serve with a spicy relish or a hearty soup.


Ingredients
400 grams plain flour
15 grams fresh yeast
150 millilitres warm water
100 grams buttermilk
20 millilitres vegetable oil
1 teaspoon salt
½ teaspoon sugar
30 grams soft butter

Preparation
Pour the buttermilk, water, sugar, and oil into a large bowl, crumble in the fresh yeast, whisk well, and let the yeast dissolve. Once the yeast dissolves, add in half of the flour, along with the salt, and whisk really well. The dough will resemble a very thick pancake batter. Add in the rest of the flour, and mix vigorously with a wooden spoon, until the dough starts to pull away from the sides of the bowl. Cover the bowl with a lid or cling film, and let the dough rest for 10 minutes. After that, transfer the dough to a work surface lightly dusted with flour, add in the softened butter, and start kneading it in until the dough absorbs it fully.
When kneading the butter in by hand, it may take a bit of time, the dough may seem quite slippery, but keep kneading and it will be absorbed. Leave the dough to rise for about an hour in a warm spot, or until doubled in size. Press the dough onto the work surface to release all of the air, and then divide it into three equal pieces. Shape each of them into a long rope shape, and braid them together. Coil the braid around itself until a spiral forms, and then transfer it to a baking sheet lined with baking parchment. Let the dough rise for the second time, about 30 minutes or so. Bake, in a preheated oven, at 200°C, for about 25 minutes, or until golden. If desired, brush the baked bread with a bit of softened butter.

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