This past weekend has been pretty nuts. At least 4000 hospitality workers have been laid off in Banff AB, for a town with a population of 8000. That's 50% of all workers left unemployed. Over the past 5 years, Banff has seen the number of tourists visiting steadily increasing and last year the town serviced 4.1 million people. This past week we have seen visitor numbers drop below zero as tourism comes to a full stop and foreign workers are fleeing the town to get home.
Bars, restaurants, gyms, and major hotel brands are closed. Grocery stores are running out of dry and frozen goods ( produce is well stocked though!) Every shop is shuttered. Our futures are uncertain as airline, hospitality and cruise line stocks plummet and are declared the biggest losers in the already worrisome market.
Like many of you, I am also facing unemployment. I have never been out of work before, especially with no prospects on the table. For now, I guess I'll just stay in and make some bread.
Whole Wheat Loaf
For the starter:
125g Whole Wheat Flour
1g Fresh Yeast (1 pinch Dry yeast)
1. Mix flour, water yeast together in a plastic container (no metal! glass is okay.)
2. Let it sit out at room temperature overnight to ferment.
For the Dough:
1 orange, Juiced
160 Whole Wheat Flour
325 All-purpose Flour
1/2 Tsp Fresh yeast or 1/4 Tsp Dry Yeast
2 tsp Salt
All of the previous day's starter
*Optional - Flax seeds, Pumpkin seeds, sunflower seeds, oats to finish the Crust.
1. Mix water, orange juice, yeast and starter together.
2. Add flour, whole wheat flour and salt. You can kneed the dough by hand or use a stand-up mixer. The dough should change from being sticky to soft and stretchy.
4. Allow dough to rise for an hour or two until doubled in size.
5. Punch down the dough to release the air, and then divide it in half. Each half should weigh about 465g grams.
6. Shape it as you want. You can roll it into a baguette or shape it into a loaf. If you want to finish the crust with seeds, simply brush the top with water and dip the top into your seed mix. Set the dough aside and let it rise again until doubled.
7. Preheat your oven to 204 Celcius or 400 Fahrenheit while the bread is rising. Fill a metal container with water in it to create steam in the oven and leave it inside while the oven heats up.
8. When the bread has risen, slice the tops of baguettes with a bread knife, with 4 slashes. If your making a loaf, one or two slashes will do.
9. Bake the bread for 23 minutes for a baguette and 30 minutes for a loaf. Allow cooling completely before slicing.
This bread makes a great dinner bread or whole wheat sandwich loaf. It's also fantastic for distracting yourself from the world's current situation for a few moments!
Happy baking & stay healthy!
Milk & Honey