I’m a weekend baker. My weekdays are taken up with work, so I don’t have time to tend to a loaf of bread, no matter how much I love fresh bread. I’ve tried a couple of times to make weekday baking fit into my schedule, but it’s just a bit challenging, and I’d likely be pulling bread out of the oven well past dinner time any given day. Due to this, bread baking has been relegated to lazy weekends. Unfortunately, lately, my weekends have not been so lazy. I’ve been out of town every weekend since my last bread post, thus have not had fresh bread in the house! Until this past weekend. It was such a pleasure to go through the methodical steps and the long waiting times to make a fresh loaf of this country sourdough. The smell of the loaf baking and the sound of the crust crackling brought me immense joy.
This loaf is my “standard” loaf. It is basically what I make when I want to make a “country” sourdough loaf. Many of the bread books have a basic bread that has mostly white flour with some wheat and/or rye to add flavor, which they label country sourdough or country white. I’ve worked on a couple of iterations of this loaf and found this balance of grains to be a really appealing flavor combination. Because it had been so long since I last baked, I went with this classic loaf and it was delightful. The crust was crisp and bloomed beautifully. The crumb was open, and tender. On a tip from a fellow bread baker on instagram, I substituted my usual bread flour for all purpose flour and found that it led to a much more open crumb with more tenderness and less firm chew. I may play around with further experimentation on ratios of bread to all purpose flour, but that’s an adventure for another day. Until then, enjoy this lovely loaf.
|Yield: 1 loaf of bread|
My favorite country sourdough loaf. A nice balance of wheat and rye with a beautiful open crumb.
- For the dough:
- 20% levain (100g)
- 75% water at about 80F (375g)
- 70% all purpose flour (350g)
- 20% whole wheat flour (100g)
- 10% dark rye flour (50g)
- 2% salt (10 g)
- For the levain amount used in the recipe:
- 10 g 100% hydration starter
- 25 g whole wheat flour
- 25 g all purpose flour
- 50 g water at about 80F
- First make the levain:
- The night before you are going to mix the dough, combine all of your ingredients for the levain in a large mason jar. Set into a warmish place (about 70-75F) to rise for about 8-10 hours. I often put mine in the oven with the oven light on depending on how cold it is outside.
- Then make the bread dough:
- The levain should be just under doubled in size and very bubbly. Place the water into the bowl of a stand mixer and add in your levain. Using the paddle mixer, stir until fully incorporated.
- Add in the flours and mix until all the flour is hydrated. Cover with a plate and allow to autolyse for about 40-60 minutes.
- After the autolyse is complete, add the salt and stir with the dough hook for about 3 minutes on medium speed. You can also slap and fold on the counter top. The dough should start to look more cohesive and smooth.
- Transfer the dough to a dough bucket and place in a warmish place to rise. Every 30-45 minutes, stretch and fold the dough to aerate, a total of 4 times.
- Once the dough is almost doubled in size, transfer onto a floured countertop and shape into a boule. Dust with flour and cover with a dishcloth and allow to rest for 30 minutes.
- Shape into a boule or a batard and transfer to a cloth lined banneton. Cover with a dishtowel and place in the fridge to retard overnight.
- Make the bread:
- The next morning, about 1.5 hours before you want to bake, place a dutch oven into the oven and preheat at 500F. Once the oven hits 500F, allow to continue to heat for about 30 to 45 minutes.
- Remove the bread from the fridge, and flip onto a piece of parchment paper cut to just larger than the banneton. Dust with flour and score the loaf with a lame.
- Very carefully, remove the dutch oven from the oven. Using the parchment paper as a sling, carefully transfer the loaf to the dutch oven. Cover, and place in oven. Turn the heat down to 475F.
- Bake covered for 30 minutes. Uncover and bake for an additional 5-15 minutes or until deeply brown.
- Carefully flip out of the dutch oven, and remove the parchment paper, and place on a wire rack to cool.