Tuesday, April 7, 2009

The Return of Fresh Baked Bread

I finally made some real bread again. Having missed it for so long, I wanted to make sure we had fresh bread all weekend so I planned on making two different recipes. In addition to finally trying the Jim Lahey/Mark Bittman No-Knead Bread that finally gave the confidence to countless home bakers to jump into the yeasted bread fray, (which I’ll blog soon – it’s easy and good) I also wanted to tackle a more substantial bread. I chose a recipe from Jeffrey Hamelman because of how much we like his bagel recipe – it is the only one to best Grandpa’s NY bagels. Hamelman’s Rustic Bread recipe looked like a good counter to the all white flour of the No-Knead bread we baked. It is not a 100% whole wheat bread but the recipe does incorporate enough whole wheat and rye flours to give the bread some serious substance. He uses 10% Whole Wheat and 10% Rye, which would have been great, but unfortunately, I did not have rye in the house so I used 20% whole wheat.

In order to get all of this baked over the weekend and still hang out with the wife and kids (and finally do my taxes) I put together a schedule that started with mixing the pre-ferments for both recipes Friday night. Early Saturday afternoon I mixed, folded, rested, and shaped the doughs, and then baked both loaves later that afternoon. The No-Knead bread was broken into about an hour after it came out of the oven – we couldn’t wait any longer, we’ve been without for so long. We gave the Rustic Bread an appropriate rest and tore into it on Sunday.

Both bread ended up fantastic. The No-Knead bread (you’ll see photos soon) wasn’t gorgeous, but had fantastic crumb. The Rustic Bread had a hearty, but not overwhelming crust, a slightly denser, but very enjoyable crumb structure and wonderful taste. I have been eating it all week, sliced, toasted and covered with cream cheese and orange marmalade. Decadent I know, but an awesome breakfast.

I look forward to making this again with the rye flour and maybe working on my shaping and scoring.

Rustic Bread

Adapted from Jeffrey Hamelman

50% pre-fermented flour
Makes 2 large loaves

Overall Formula:

Bread Flour

1 lb, 9.6 oz


Whole-wheat flour

6.4 oz



1 lb 6.1 oz



.6 oz



.06 oz, instant


Total Yield

3 lb, 6.7 oz



Bread flour

1 lb (3 5/8 C)



9.6 oz (1 ¼ C)



.3 oz (½ T)



1/8 tsp, instant



1 lb, 10 oz

Final Dough

Bread Flour

9.6 oz (2 ¼ C)

Whole wheat flour

6.4 oz (1 ½ C)


12.5 oz (1 ½ C)


.3 oz (½ T)


.06 oz instant (½ tsp)


1 lb, 10 oz (all of above)


3 lb, 6.7 oz

1. PRE-FERMENT: Disperse the yeast in the water, add the flour and salt, and mix until just smooth. At 60 percent hydration, it will be stiff and dense, but add water if necessary to correct the hydration. Cover the bowl with plastic and let stand for 12 to 16 hours at about 70°F. When ripe, the pre-ferment will be domed and just beginning to recede in the center.

2. MIXING: Add all the ingredients to the mixing bowl except the pre-ferment. In a spiral mixer, mix on first speed for 3 minutes in order to incorporate the ingredients. As the dough is coming together, add the pre-ferment in chunks. If necessary, correct the hydration by adding water or flour in small amounts. Finish mixing on second speed for about 21⁄2 minutes. The dough should be supple and moderately loose, with moderate gluten development. Desired dough temperature: 75°F.

3. BULK FERMENTATION: 21⁄2 hours.

4. FOLDING: Fold the dough twice, once after 50 minutes of bulk fermentation and again 50 minutes later.

5. DIVIDING AND SHAPING: Divide the dough into 1.5-pound pieces. Preshape lightly into rounds and place on a lightly floured work surface, seams up. Cover the rounds with plastic. When the dough has relaxed sufficiently (10 to 20 minutes), shape into round or oval loaves, place them either into floured bannetons or between folds of floured baker’s linen, and cover with plastic.

6. FINAL FERMENTATION: Approximately 11⁄4 to 11⁄2 hours at 75°F.

7. BAKING: Invert the risen loaves onto the loading conveyor or peel. Slash the desired scoring pattern with a blade. Presteam the oven, load the bread, and steam again. Bake at 450°F. Open the oven vents after the loaves show color, in order to finish the bake in a drying oven. Loaves scaled at 1.5 pounds should bake for 35 to 38 minutes.

Submitted to Yeastspotting over at Wild Yeast


Danielle said...

that's some beautiful bread

Ruthie said...

mmmm... thank you!

Rachel said...

dear me, your beautiful site makes me hungry!

Katia Clark said...

What beautiful bread!

Susan said...

This is a beautiful, forthright loaf that is the best of what bread should be. Thanks for joining yeastspotting!

Jenny said...

What gorgeous bread! I will always be grateful to Jim Lahey, but I think I like Cook's Illustrated variation, "Almost No-Knead Bread." It's a little more work--not much--but I think it tastes better.

Irene said...

Oh my goodness, what a gorgeous bread! This is exactly what I've been looking for. I am going to make this very soon!