Samantha Beech is rising to the occasion. An uncovering of a new passion has led her to bake bread for the Boulder community, delivering fresh sourdough to shelters and taking custom orders of brioche and buckwheat for those craving a crispy, dough-filled indulgence.
“Creating meaningful relationships is always my intention, and right now the shape that is taking is through food. This is the only way I know how to show you that I love you,” Beech says.
During your own baking process, Beech asks that you pay attention to the transformation that occurs with simple ingredients: flour, water, salt and yeast. Allow yourself this time to be still, to watch the minutes be broken into seconds. By engaging all five senses and moving through the rhythm of kneading, folding and waiting, it may reveal to you a gratitude that lives beneath the uncertainty.
“For me, baking draws me deeper into my senses. There is no other place but now, where all you can be is here,” she shares.
Beech’s own call to the kitchen is teaching her that no act is too small, there is power in sharing and on the journey to recovery, the beginning is where we start. Follow her instructions here to craft your own golden loaf of brioche.
She is currently taking bread orders via Instagram and email.
For the sponge:
Half tablespoon instant dry yeast
12 tablespoons active dry yeast
2 tablespoons granulated sugar
1/4 cup water, 100-110 degrees fahrenheit
For the dough:
3 large eggs, room temperature
1 teaspoon kosher salt
2 cups + 2 tablespoons AP flour
1/2 cups unsalted butter, cut into tablespoons
1 large egg
pinch of salt
1 teaspoon of water
In the bowl of your stand mixer, add the warmed water.
Touch: if you don’t have a kitchen thermometer, test the water temperature with your finger. It should feel like a hot bath. Gently stir in the sugar and yeast. Set a timer for 5 minutes and wait for the mixture to bubble. NOTE: This is the only unforgiving step of the process. Too hot and you’ll kill the yeast, too cool and it won’t activate. Smell: at this stage you should smell yeast/beer. If you don’t then let it sit for a minute or two longer.
Attach a dough hook to your stand mixer, then add in the salt and 2 cups of flour and then mix on low until the dough starts to come together.
Touch: feels a little grainy and quite dry. Increase the mixer speed to medium and add butter, one tablespoon at a time. When the dough starts to look greasy, stop the mixer and scrape down any butter on the sides. Add the remaining 2 tablespoons of flour and mix until the dough starts to come together enough to clean the sides of the bowl, about 3 minutes.
Look: this is one of my favorite parts, the dough starts to change; moving from a shaggy mess to a smooth ball.
Allow the dough to rest for 15 minutes. Beat on medium speed for another 4 minutes and look for dough arms to start slapping the side of the bowl. Place dough in a well greased bowl and allow it to rise at room temperature for 1 hour. Punch down dough and fold roughly into thirds like a business letter. Dough should feel light and airy to the touch. Cover again with plastic wrap and allow the dough to chill in the fridge overnight for at least 6 hours and up to 12. The longer it sits, the more flavor it will have.
Grease a 9 x 5 loaf pan and set aside. Remove dough onto your work surface and punch it down. Divide into 5 equal portions. If the kids are involved, ask them to engage with their sense of touch by playing with the dough. Using the palms of their hands to flatten each piece into a rough 5 x 5 square. Roll into a log and place into loaf pan, seam side down. Repeat.
Cover the pan and let the dough rise at room temperature until it reaches the TOP of the pan. 90 minutes to 2 hours. NOTE: This is called proofing and it’s a critical step. Be patient. I love to speed up this step by placing pan in oven with oven OFF and using steam to help the dough rise. Pour boiling water onto a sheet pan below it. Close the oven and do not open until this process is done.
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Prepare egg wash in small bowl and brush over top of dough.
Bake for 35 minutes, rotating half way through. If the top starts to brown more than desired, cover it with a foil tent.
Allow bread to cool for 10 minutes in pan and then transfer to a wire rack, it should slide right out. Store cooled bread in air tight container for up to 4 days.
Use your home-made bread in a BLT or the most divine french toast or a classic PB+J.