F: Let’s nip to the bakery to buy fresh bread. Or just pick up some rolls for Sunday morning breakfast. Nowadays, it’s not a problem.
But in earlier times, the situation was very different. People baked their own bread, sometimes even in their own bakehouse, usually once every two weeks.
M: Baking used to be very hard work. The dough was kneaded in a large trough, which was usually made of oak. Sometimes, the dough was so heavy that people had to knead it with their feet. In winter, the bakehouse was preheated, otherwise the dough wouldn’t have risen properly and the bread wouldn’t have become light and airy.
F: The dough itself was made by mixing warm water with rye or wheat flour. But the most important ingredient was the sourdough.
On every baking day, a piece of dough was reserved as starter. Over the following days, it would mature. That’s because sourdough contains lactic acid bacteria and yeast, and they’re what sets the fermentation process in motion. The fermentation produces lactic acid and acetic acid as well as carbon dioxide, a hint of alcohol and – crucially – a great many aromatic substances. So the sourdough not only gives the bread an open crumb and makes it digestible, it also adds flavour.
Fotos: © Heimatmuseum Lette