Sarah Alessi, baker at Blackbird Baking Co. in Lakewood, shares her techniques for making awesome loaves.
Mix Water & Flour: This will make a sourdough starter. Combine equal parts flour and water, let it ferment at room temperature for 12 hours, refrigerate overnight and repeat fermentation the next day. It’s ready when it bubbles and smells like Champagne.
Add Pickle Brine: “Go to the store, buy the weirdest thing you find and try baking it into a loaf of bread,” says Alessi, who added the juice from a jar of bread-and-butter pickles to a loaf. “It tasted like dill pickles.” Just make slight adjustments to water and salt.
Try Soda Bread: “It’s a really simple recipe, like a cake,” Alessi says. It’s a true pantry bread: flour, butter, buttermilk, egg, salt and baking soda. But the dough is a lot more forgiving. “Try adding caraway, fennel or cranberry, even lemon curd, in it,” she says.