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Nov 9, 2020

Hearty Slow Fermented Rustic Bread

This hearty loaf, made with bread flour, whole wheat flour, and a paté fermentée, is slowly fermented in the refrigerator to develop maximum flavor. 

Loaf of Slow Fermented Rustic Bread Sliced

The formula for this bread begins with a pâte fermentée, which is a mix of flour, water, salt, and yeast that is mixed about 8 to 24 hours before before you bake your bread. 

You mix it and then let it ferment it in the refrigerator until you are ready to bake. 

This recipe is a great way to try your hand at slow fermentation. It's super easy, and will introduce you to new bread baking techniques. Plus, slow fermentation helps develop flavor without having to maintain a sourdough starter. 

Loaf of Slow Fermented Rustic Bread

You can make this bread in two days, or stretch making this bread out over three days by making the pâte fermentée in the morning of the first day, mixing the final dough on the morning of the second day, and then shaping and baking the loaf on the third day. 

For the two-day schedule, make the pâte fermentée the first day, and then mix, shape, and bake the final loaf the next day. 

The dough, with 67% hydration (ratio of water to flour), is easier to handle than one with a wetter dough. You also don't have to fret about it flattening out after shaping.  

It has a wonderful crunchy crust, and great for sandwiches and soups. You could also use it for making panzanella salad or bread stuffing

Pre-shaped ball of bread dough

You will need bread flour and whole wheat flour, along with salt, water, and yeast. The dough is 15 percent whole wheat. If all you have is all purpose flour, as long as it is unbleached and higher in protein (such as King Arthur), you can use that. 

I'm still working on my shaping skills for batards (elongated loaves). I do fine with boules (round loaves), but have a little bit of trouble shaping pointy ends. Not that they're necessary because the loaf tastes just as good!

Slow Fermented Rustic Bread Crumb

You will need to create steam in your oven for the first 20 minutes of baking. Because you are not baking this loaf in a Dutch oven, which creates steam from the loaf in the enclosed pot, you will need the steam to help keep the crust soft during the first few minutes of baking so that you can get the maximum oven spring. 

In addition, the steam also helps the loaf develop a crispy crust. 

There are several ways for creating steam in your oven, including spraying the walls of your oven with water or placing a steam pan with hot water on the lowest rack of your oven. 

In this case, I used a pan with ice cubes on the lowest rack of the oven. There is less risk of getting water on your oven window and cracking it. 

Whole loaf of Hearty Slow Fermented Rustic Bread

This month's Baking Blogger theme is yeasted bread, one of my favorite things to bake. Check out everyone's recipes. 

Baking Bloggers November 2020

Yeast Breads

Hearty Slow Fermented Rustic Bread

Hearty Slow Fermented Rustic Bread
Yield: 16 servings
Author: Karen Kerr
This hearty loaf, made with bread flour, whole wheat flour, and a paté fermentée, is slowly fermented in the refrigerator to develop maximum flavor.


For the Pâte Fermentée
  • 60 grams (1/4 cup plus 1/2 teaspoon) lukewarm water
  • 1/3 teaspoon instant yeast
  • 90 grams (3/4 cup plus 1 tablespoon)  bread flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
For the Loaf
  • 285 grams (1 1/4 cups) water
  • 340 grams (2 3/4 cups) bread flour
  • 80 grams (2/3 cup) whole wheat flour
  • 105 grams (scant 1/2 cup, deflated) pâte fermentée, cut into small pieces
  • 2 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt
  • 1/8 teaspoon instant yeast


To Make the Pâte Fermentée
  1. Add the water, yeast, flour, and salt to the bowl of a stand mixer. Mix on low with the dough hook for about 2 minutes. 
  2. Cover the bowl and let stand for 30 minutes. 
  3. Place the mixture into a covered bowl with enough room to expand, and refrigerate it for 8 to 24 hours. 
To Make the Final Dough
  1. In the bowl of a stand mixer, fitted with the dough hook, add the water and flours. Mix on low for 2 minutes to combine the ingredients and then let the dough rest in the bowl for 20 minutes.
  2. Add the pâte fermentée pieces, the salt, and the yeast. Mix on low for 2 minutes. 
  3. Increase the speed to medium and mix for about 4 minutes, until the dough is smooth and elastic. 
  4. Transfer the dough to an oiled bowl and cover with plastic wrap and let rise at room temperature for 1 1/2 to 2 hours, until the dough is puffy. If you want to refrigerate the dough, let it rise at room temperature for 45 minutes, fold the dough, and then transfer it to the refrigerator for 4 to 12 hours. 
  5. Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured work surface and shape it into a ball. Cover and let rest for 10 minutes if it's room temperature and 45 minutes if it is cold. 
  6. Shape the dough into a batard about 12 inches long, 4 inches wide, and 3 inches high. Line a peel or the back of a baking sheet with parchment, and place the batard, seem side down, on the parchment. Cover loosely with plastic wrap. Let rise about an hour, until puffy and the dough passes the "finger dent test." (Poking it with your finger leaves a dent)
  7. Prepare the oven with a pizza stone on the middle rack, and a pan on the lowest rack and heat the oven to 500 degrees F. When the loaf is ready, place two cups of ice cubes in the steam pan. 
  8. Score the loaf with one long slash, lengthwise and slide it, parchment and all, onto the baking stone. Reduce the oven temperature to 450 degrees F. 
  9. Bake the bread for about 45 minutes, until it reaches an internal temperature of about 200 degrees F. 
  10. Cool completely on a wire rack. 



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bread, artisan bread
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This recipe was adapted from The Hot Bread Kitchen Cookbook: Artisanal Baking from Around the World

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Would you like to comment?

  1. I've been so proud of my sourdough achievement during this shelter in place. And now you throw a completely new term at me. Ha. Okay. I'll try it.

  2. All those wonderful air holes. You encourage me to start sourdough baking, which I have loved by the way, and now you give me an alternative that looks just as delicious.

  3. Such a beautiful crust on this bread Karen! That texture looks amazing. Definitely worth the time to develop those flavors.

  4. Such a beautiful bread Karen! That looks so amazing.

  5. Wow this looks so good and the crumb and the texture. You are a true bread baking queen

  6. Flat-out beautiful! I separated mine into 4 hoagie-sized rolls. Cooked for about 25 mins and they were perfect!

    1. Thanks for letting me know Taylor. I'm going to have to try that!


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