I don't see how you have enough time to make bread.

LeadDog's picture

 "I don't see how you have enough time to bake bread." is what the head of winemaking told me the other day.  I tried to explain that really there isn't that much time involved but that was met with unbelief.  So I thought why not time the different steps and see how much time is really involved.

I'm including the making of the preferment since to me it is part of the process.  Mixing of the starter with flour and water for the preferment took 4.5 minutes.  Thats pretty quick.  I let the preferment set for 12 hours during which time I went to work and back.


Next up is mixing all the ingredients together for the dough except the salt.  This took another 4.5 minutes.  I let the dough autolyse for half an hour while I went off to read a book.  Then I added the salt and finished mixing the dough which took 2.5 minutes.


The dough was put into an oiled bowl and covered with a plate, quick fast and simple.

oiled bowl

plate cover

 Much easier than covering with a towel.


I let it bulk ferment for awhile while I read a book.  You can do anything else you like but you don't have to watch the bread rise.

Shaping the dough and placing it in a floured banneton took 3 minutes.  This was place in the fridge until I got home from work the next day.

When I get home I start preheating the oven and take the dough out of the fridge.  This just takes maybe 30 seconds.  When the oven is ready I slash the bread and place it in the oven and cover it with a roasting pan lid, 1 minute.  The roasting pan lid is left covering the baking bread for 30 minutes then it is removed, 5 seconds.  The bread is removed from the oven after another 15 minutes and takes 5 seconds.

baked bread

So lets total up the times and see what we get, 16 minutes and 40 seconds.  Wow not a whole lot of work to make a loaf of bread.

Writing this blog 28 minutes.  It takes less time to make bread.


rossnroller 2010 October 14

You're right - people who are not familiar with the SD bread making process find it hard to believe that the hands-on time involved is so minimal. People seem especially incredulous when you point out that there is no kneading (like you, I think, I always S&F). I sometimes even pick up an implied message during these sorts of conversations that if I have time to make bread I can't have much else to do! As you point out, you can do whatever you like during bulk proofs etc - except leave the house for extended periods.

For me, the key to managing the timing of SD bread to fit into almost any schedule is the extended retarding in the fridge. This gives great flexibility to the process.

Nice-looking bread, BTW.


Karniecoops's picture
Karniecoops 2010 October 14

That's excellent LD! 

When my mother asked what I'd been up to on Saturday, I said, "not much, went to Tai Chi, made about 10 loaves of bread, and just sitting down to have a cuppa".  She said, you must be exhausted that sounds like hard work! 

But like you've very clearly pointed out, it takes no time at all, even making two double batches of bread.  The only thing that takes longer is the shaping, slashing, and moving in and out of fridge/oven - and for my multibake that only would have increased the hands on time by a few minutes!

Isn't it great??!!  Gotta love making bread!


PS - love the state of your baking paper :o)  Mine crumbled the other day after my baking so I shouted myself a new piece!

LeadDog's picture
LeadDog 2010 October 15

 I remember reading in "Local Bread" that anywhere along the process that you need to stop just put the dough in the fridge.  I guess people who don't bake bread are not aware of that trick.  Maybe I'll let them think I spend hours and hours baking bread for them.

Sharms 2010 October 15

I get more time to read my book now that I bake SD bread.  I also like it that everyone thinks that I am so clever/patient/resourceful/healthy etc and in the meantime it's a piece of cake - well sort of.  I have a fav recipe and haven't bothered to try any variations as it works for my family. 

I don't do loaves, I just make small ciabatta rustic-looking type rolls so that we all get lots of crust.  We keep it in a bag on the bench and just toast when we want some.  Oh I sprinkle sesame and nigella seeds on top before baking and the toasting makes it even better.  Never seems to go mouldy - or perhaps we eat it before it can.  I bake 2-3 times a week, mixing in the morn and baking at night, or mixing at night and baking before work/school.

Works a treat.


PS...I thought my baking paper had character - but yours looks very wise indeed.  Mine also tore from crispiness last night when my husband and I tried to lift a batch out to use the tray again in a hurry. 

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