• Najwa Kronfel

Rustic Bread

It’s time to post another bread recipe. I love this rustic style bread because it’s sort of like a “multi purpose” loaf of bread. Perfect for sandwiches, tartines, soups, bruschetta, sweet or salty spreads, the list goes on. 

I know these type of breads can look intimidating but all it takes is practice and one good recipe that will stick around for years. Follow these steps and you will be baking bread like a pro right in the comfort of your own home. I assure you, once you nail down this recipe, you will love it. Besides, I’m sure you are not afraid of 4 ingredients, yup, that’s all it takes to make this beautiful bread. 

Baking bread is about timing. Knowing when is the right time to fold, shape, and bake the dough is key for bread baking. Once you get to know your dough in all different stages, it will become much easier but the only way to get to that point is through practice. Don’t give up, if it didn’t come out quite right the first time, I’m sure the second time will be better.


For the poolish preferment:

55g bread flour

55 room temperature water

small pinch (less than a gram) instant dry yeast

For the final dough:

819g bread flour

510g warm water

18 g salt

3g instant dry yeast

Make the preferment the day before, in a large bowl, combine the flour, water and yeast. Mix well to blend, cover and set aside to ferment for 12 hours at room temperature, ideally  at 70 F. When the preferment is ready, we can now start to make the bread. In a bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the hook attachment, combine the flour and the water, mix on low speed until well blended. Turn off the mixer and let the dough rest for 15 minutes. Add the salt, yeast and the poolish preferment and mix on low speed for 5 minutes, increase the speed to medium and mix for 8 minutes or until the dough comes together. It should still be a little sticky but manageable. lightly oil a big container and place the dough there to ferment. Cover with plastic film and let it rest for 1 hour.  After an hour, fold the dough (see note), cover again and let it rest for another hour.  

About 45 minutes before you are ready to bake, preheat the oven and place baking stones or tiles (see note) to preheat too. Lightly flour a work surface, turn the dough into the table and gently pat the dough to degas. Carefully shape the dough into a round, place the dough seem side up into a floured pan (I used a proofing basket) to rest for the last time. The basket is what gives the bread those beautiful round grooves. Cover it and let it rest for 45 minutes. When ready to bake, turn the dough seem side down and score it using a razor or a very sharp knife, Bake for 35 minutes or until the crust is a deep golden color. Depending on your oven, it might take up to 45 minutes. Let it cool completely on a wire rack.

Note: Folding the dough: It simply means to turn the dough onto itself. HERE is a good video to show you how. 

Note: I have a Sassafras brick oven I purchased HERE. I love it because you don’t have to worry about steam which is what helps the bread to create a crust. You can also use baking tiles, if you do, when you are ready to preheating the oven, place a baking sheet with ice under the tiles inside the oven. That will help you create steam. 

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