This country bread is kind of a back to basics loaf. Making it doesn't require a lot of attention compared to the loaves I've been making recently. Yes, there is a preferment, but you can make it before going to bed the night before mixing up the dough, or you can refrigerate the preferment for up to 24 hours.
The recipe makes one large airy loaf with a totally crunchy crust. In fact, the crust just "sings" when you take it out of the oven. Seriously. Just listen.
This bread is a mix of bread, rye, and whole flours. The loaf was much larger than the original recipe described (mine rose much higher than the basket in which I placed it to rise), and the interior was super soft. It stayed fresh for days, and made fabulous toast.
I was originally going to place it in a preheated Dutch oven to bake, but the bread was way to big, so I quickly switched to a baking sheet (my stone was not preheated), and sprayed the oven walls with water to create steam.
It's good to know that "punting" works.
Adapted from Baking with Julia by Dorie Greenspan.
1 1/2 C warm (105 to 115 degrees F) water
2 1/4 tsp instant yeast
1 C (4 1/4 ounces) unbleached all purpose flour
1/2 C rye flour
1/2 C whole wheat flour
- Mix all of the ingredients in the bowl of a stand mixer and stir with a spoon until fully mixed.
- Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and let stand for about 8 hours.
All of the preferment
1 tsp instant yeast
1 C water
3 C (12 3/4 ounces) bread flour
1 C whole wheat flour
1 T salt
- Stir all of the ingredients except the salt into the preferment in the bowl of the stand mixer.
- Re-cover the bowl with plastic wrap and let it sit for 10 minutes.
- Sprinkle the salt over the dough and begin kneading with the dough hook. If the dough is too sticky, add more flour, one tablespoon at a time. The dough should be very sticky, but begin to clear the bowl. I added no extra flour because the weather was very dry.
- Knead on medium for about 10 minutes.
- Oil a large bowl or bucket and turn the dough out into it.
- Cover with plastic wrap and let it rise for about 90 to 120 minutes, until doubled.
- Line a large bowl with a kitchen towel and rub it with a mixture of rice and all purpose flour. A large colander would work too.
- Dust your counter with flour and turn the dough out onto it. Pat it into a flat round.
- Fold the dough into the center from all sides.
- Flip the dough over, and then begin shaping it by cupping the dough under your hands and pulling the dough against the counter to create tension on the top of the dough to form a tight ball. Repeat the flattening, folding, flipping, and tightening process four more times.
- Place the dough, seam side up, into the banneton. Cover with oiled plastic wrap.
- Allow to rise for 60 to 90 minutes.
- Preheat the oven to 425 degrees F with a baking stone on the lower third of the oven with a rack below it. Place a broiler pan on the lowest rack.
- When you are ready to bake the loaf, bring one cup of water to a boil.
- Turn the loaf out, seam side down, onto a parchment lined pizza peel. Slash the loaf in any pattern you like.
- Drag the parchment, loaf and all, onto the stone.
- Pour the boiling water into the broiler pan (cover your oven window with a towel when pouring so it doesn't break, then remove the towel) and shut the door immediately.
- Turn the oven down to 400 degrees F and bake for 60 to 70 minutes, until the loaf reaches an internal temperature of 200 degrees F.
- Cool the loaf on a wire rack.
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