Last weekend, Cart and I spent some time at La Città Dell’Utopia. If you haven’t been to this place before, I think it’s worth visiting when they host their monthly organic market or have their courses. While it’s not a touristy place, I love La Città for its charm and how it invokes such a rustic feeling in me and there are always friendly people here.
I was here before, a number of times for courses such as learning how to make your own shampoo as well as when I participated in their annual soup festival. This time round, Cart and I were here for their bread-making course.
First off, we were introduced to an important ingredient called, “Lievito Madre”. Directly translated as yeast mother, this fresh yeast could be made by yourself with some flour, yoghurt and water.
The texture is sticky and viscous, almost like glue.
We were given a choice of 2 different flour – semolina and wheat, weighed at 200 grams each.
With the flour, we used our fingers to form a well and scooped in two spoonfuls of the yeast in the middle.
We then covered the yeast with the surrounding flour bit by bit and eventually kneaded the ingredients together slowly and firmly to form a dough.
The process reminds me quite a bit of when I learnt how to make fresh pasta some time back. It was methodical and quite relaxing pressing the dough back and forth.
If the dough feels dry or hard, add in some water. The texture should feel soft but not too sticky. If you’d like at this point, you could add extra ingredients such as seeds or salt and continue to knead it in.
Cart chose to have some mixed seeds in his, while I opted to have mine plain with just some salt.
Once the bread is shaped as a ball, a small piece can be pulled out. This can be used to make a new batch of yeast.
Next, a cross is cut into the dough. This will allow the oven to make it crunchier as there is more surface area.
Leave the dough to rest for about 3 hours.
After which, put a small ceramic bowl with some water, put it in the oven and heat it up to about 180 degree Celsius. Once the bread has risen, let it be cooked in the oven for about 50 minutes. After which, a most inviting smell will emanate from the kitchen.
Pull it out and let it cool down, and soon you have freshly baked bread, ready to be eaten. On the left is Cart’s semolina bread with mixed seeds and on the right is my wheat flour bread.
The smell of freshly baked bread is wonderful and it’s even more special knowing that it’s home-made with your own hands. Biting into it, it’s very dense and hearty. I especially liked the crusty parts outside.
All in all, I really enjoyed the course, making our own bread. But I feel it’s especially meaningful that Cart and I did it together. It’s the little moments like these that I cherish.