Posted by: Rachael | February 9, 2010

Soymbo’s Bread

After six months in South East Asia, we got to a ger in the north side of Ulaanbaatar, Mongolia, where Soymbo bakes her bread each night. (she does it late at night in order to make the most of the cheaper electricity rate then)

Asia is famous for many things, but bread is not one of them, so Soymbo’s bread was a real treat. When we made it the other day, after months of European bread and our own bread specialties including a favourite sourdough, it didn’t turn out as special as it had seemed at the time. The crunch of eggshells was less easily overlooked from the comfort of our own home – even if they add calcium!

The recipe is given as she explained it to me as we baked together. Why it is done in the order stated is a mystery; our cross-linguistic skills did not extend to such intricacies.

3 dried eggshells, ground in mortar and pestle
20g instant yeast (that’s about 1T)
Mix together

10g baking soda
20g salt
Dissolve in 1l of warm water

~1.2kg flour
Mix with the yeast/shell mixture, then add most of the water mixture slowly

500ml water
Add to the reamining water solution and mix into the dough, adding flour as necessary until the bowl and your hand are clean.
If you don’t have a big enough bowl (as Soymbo didn’t), mix as much as possible in whatever sized bowl you have, taking a clump out and setting it aside until all the water is mixed in.
Knead well for ten minutes.
Rest for 40 minutes, covered in a warm place. It might have been below zero outside the ger, but inside, with the fire blazing it was closer to 30 degrees centigrade, and so a warm place was not hard to find. In our relatively cooler New Zealand summer, I found it takes over an hour for the dough to double in size, as it needs to.
Form into 4 large loaves and place on an oven tray.
Leave to rise some more and bake at 180*C for about 30-40 minutes.

PS I think if I added seeds to the bread, no-one would notice the eggshell 😉

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