By: Henry Hunter
How to Beat the Heat and Keep Baking Bread with Ease
Hey there, fellow bread bakers! As we’re experiencing scorching summer heat, it can be challenging to keep up with our bread-making passion. But fear not, I’ve got some tips and tricks to help you continue your baking journey even in the midst of this sweltering weather.
1. Embrace Overnight Baking:
Beat the heat by shifting your baking schedule to the cooler hours of the night. Start your bread-making adventure around 3:30 or 4 o’clock in the morning, just like I used to do for farmers markets and restaurants. The serene solitude of those early hours, accompanied by your favorite tunes, will make your baking experience even more enjoyable. You might even become friends with the folks working the overnight shift at the nearby McDonald’s drive-through!
2. Utilize Sourdough Discard:
With summer heat, maintaining and feeding your sourdough starter can become a bit more challenging. Instead of letting your discard go to waste, get creative with it! Explore recipes that utilize sourdough discard, such as pancakes, crackers, or even banana bread. This way, you can reduce waste while still satisfying your baking cravings.
3. Opt for No-Knead Recipes:
During hot weather, avoid prolonged kneading sessions that can make you break a sweat. Instead, opt for no-knead bread recipes that require minimal effort but still yield amazing results. These recipes often involve longer fermentation times, allowing the dough to develop flavor and structure without the need for extensive manual labor.
I’ve got a fantastic no-need sourdough recipe that’s perfect for baking in hot weather. Here it is:
• 400g bread flour
• 280g water (room temperature)
• 100g active sourdough starter
• 8g salt
1. In a large bowl, mix the bread flour and salt. Add the sourdough starter and water, then stir until the dough comes together.
2. Cover the bowl with a damp cloth and let it sit at room temperature for 12-15 hours. This slow fermentation will develop the flavors without needing to knead.
3. After the fermentation period, gently shape the dough into a ball on a floured surface. Place it in a well-floured proofing basket or a bowl lined with a floured cloth.
4. Cover the dough and let it rise for another 2-3 hours until it doubles in size.
5. Preheat your oven to 450°F (230°C) along with a lidded cast-iron pot inside.
6. Carefully transfer the risen dough into the preheated pot, cover with the lid, and bake for 30 minutes.
7. Remove the lid and continue baking for another 15-20 minutes until the crust turns golden brown.
8. Take the bread out of the oven and let it cool on a wire rack before slicing and enjoying!
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4. Experiment with Alternative Baking Methods:
If using the oven in the summer seems too daunting, consider alternative baking methods. Explore options like baking bread in a slow cooker, on a stovetop griddle, or even in a bread machine. These methods can save you from heating up your kitchen while still delivering delicious homemade bread.
5. Plan Ahead and Freeze:
To minimize baking during the hottest days, plan your baking sessions in advance. Make larger batches of dough and freeze portions for later use. This way, you can simply thaw and bake your bread when the temperature is more favorable, saving you from the heat-induced baking dilemma.
6. Stay Hydrated and Enjoy the Process:
Don’t forget to stay hydrated and take breaks when needed. Baking in hot weather can be challenging, but it’s essential to take care of yourself while pursuing your passion. Stay cool, crank up your favorite tunes, and savor the joy of creating bread masterpieces in the comfort of your own kitchen.
So, my fellow bread enthusiasts, don’t let the summer heat deter you from baking up a storm. With a little creativity, careful planning, and a pinch of determination, you can continue to enjoy the art of bread baking even in the midst of sweltering temperatures. Let’s keep our ovens hot, our spirits high, and our bread delicious!
Happy baking and stay cool!
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