The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

French Country Bread

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GermanFoodie's picture
GermanFoodie

French Country Bread

Another family favorite (OK, so there is only one kind of bread that we do NOT love, and that is crustless, tasteless stuff that should not even be called bread) is French country bread, so called because we developed it from a recipe in the “Village Baker”, where it was listed among the French breads. While this does not sound terribly exciting for a story, the bread all the more is when it is topped with butter and cheese or olive oil and sopressata. Whether you eat it fresh or toasted, the white rye flour in this recipe transforms this bread from what could be a simple white bread into a “please-gimme-more” kind of an experience. Rye just makes every bread so much more exciting and gives it a broader taste profile.

Can I just say: “yum”? :) 

French Country Bread
(Original Recipe)

160 g white rye flour
920 g bread flour
16 g salt
15 g yeast
660 g water
230 g old dough/biga*

Makes 2 loaves.

*This bread is even better when you make it by keeping some of the dough for next time. So the first time you can get started with biga, then set aside the required amount of French country dough and keep using that if you bake more than once a week.

Combine all ingredients but the water in a bowl (cut the old dough into chunks) and while kneading with a dough hook, slowly add the water. When the dough starts clearing the sides of the bowl and looks uniform and smooth, remove and let rise until doubled, punch down and then retard in the fridge overnight.

TIP/NOTE: This dough is fairly soft, wet and may stick a great deal. Be sure to flour your hands down thoroughly before handling it, but resist the temptation to add more flour in general. Because it is so soft, it needs support for proofing, like a brotform or a couche.

On baking day, preheat your oven to 450 F (230 C). Shape the dough into two loaves and proof in two floured bannetons/brotforms or a couche until your finger leaves an indent. Place onto a lined and greased baking sheet, taking care that the loaves have plenty of space between them. Bake for about 35 minutes, or until a deep brown. The internal temperature should register at least 200 F (93 C). Place on a cooling rack for at least an hour to let it cool.

[Printable Recipe]

breadsong's picture
breadsong

Hi Sofie,
I love the scoring pattern on your batards - very pretty!
(They look like little rays of sunshine to me).
:^) breadsong

GermanFoodie's picture
GermanFoodie

that's sweet of you! Thanks!

dabrownman's picture
dabrownman

rye, WW, spelt, farro, etc. all give bread that little something extra that makes it; special, tasteful, textured and colorful as I agree your scoring helps too!

GermanFoodie's picture
GermanFoodie

The funny thing is, before I started baking bread myself I never realized what gave really good bread that "kick"... :)

Franko's picture
Franko

What lovely looking loaves GF!

Love the scoring you've done on these loaves, very distinctive and attractive. 

Truly amazing the impact that even a small amount of rye flour can have on the flavour of a wheat based formula, isn't it? With a biga included in the formula as well, I have no doubt this bread tastes every bit as good as it looks. Great baking GF!

Cheers,

Franko 

GermanFoodie's picture
GermanFoodie

And you're right, it IS amazing. I just converted a no-knead bread recipe that way, and what a depth that stuff has now.

Janetcook's picture
Janetcook

I love the scoring.  First thing it made me thinks of were sea shells.  I have never seen a batard scored in such a fashion....so now I will have to give your method a try on my next loaf :-)

Thanks for the recipe and the photos of your bread!

Take Care,

Janet

GermanFoodie's picture
GermanFoodie

for stopping by! This IS a fun bread to make, and it is one of the most beautiful ones I've made.

abbygirl's picture
abbygirl

I tend to make baards more than boules and I agree that the scoring on these are GREAT! Thanks for the idea!

 

GermanFoodie's picture
GermanFoodie

to post a picture next time you bake in case you decide to score yours that way. Would love to see them!

abbygirl's picture
abbygirl

Just caught my horrible typo of batards... lol shame on me for not proofreading....must be because I do it for a living.. HA

GermanFoodie's picture
GermanFoodie

Don't worry about it, I got what you meant! :)