The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

country bread

Second Cooking's picture
Second Cooking

I made some rolls a few weeks ago with bits and pieces of left over hard cheese. I just grated them and added to the dough. I also had just a scrap of Gouda, that I cut in chunks and threw in as well. They came out fine. Mostly a shrap taste from whatever the predominate hard cheese was. I liked the occasional smoked smoked bite from the Gouda.

When I saw a Smoked Gouda at the Costco last weekend from a local dairy, I decide I would give some cheese rolls another try. I tend to more whole grain when cooking only for myself. Figuring everyone would want some cheese bread, I decided to go with mostly white flour. Since my starter is on a white whole wheat, I went with a country style mix on the dough.

 Overall Formula:

300g Bread Flour* 60%

150g White Whole Wheat 30%

50g Rye 10%

325g Water* 65%

10g Salt 2%

0.5 Tablespoon Instant yeast ~0.5%

180g Smoked Gouda 36%


*I used a 20% of the flour as a preferment sourdough at 100% hydration.

100 g White whole wheat

100 g Water

 Mix all ingredients, except for the cheese. Knead by hand for minute or so, and fold into the dough. I cut these a little uneven in size so they would give different size pockets in the rolls.


 Stretch and fold 3 times 20 minutes apart. Let rest another 20 and divided.


 I was a little pressed for time when I started on these. My starter was at room temperature (approx. 70°), but I used warm water to bring the dough temp up a little quicker. I also kept everything in a warm oven the whole time (approx. 85°). I had formed these all as rounds. They proofed in about an hour and a half.


 Bake at 400° for just under 20 minutes. I checked at 15 originally and they were pretty much done by then, so I covered with foil. I didn't want them to brown up much more, but wanted to be sure to have the cheese melt.


 I let them rest about five minutes.


 They came out pretty good, I thought. I had two right then.

I've made similar versions before with other semisoft cheeses, as rolls and bread loafs.  With rolls you tend to get a little more seeping out the sides or you could used a little less cheese, I suppose.  I have plenty of cheese left.  I may try this as a loaf next and squeeze a little more cheese in.

Take care, Todd

awysocki's picture

Fridge - no fridge why the spread?

November 24, 2012 - 6:09pm -- awysocki

I bought the Tartine book and it wet my appitite for 100% sourdough.

I'm getting good results using a Pyrex over the Cast Iron, but found if my final proof is done at room temp, the loaves spread too much in the oven.  If I room temp rise them for 2 hours and then 2 hours in the fridge, they hold their shape and look like I could sell then for $10 a loaf.

breaducation's picture

I have been on a bit of a country bread kick lately but I’m always trying to mix it up. For my latest variation I’ve replaced the typical 10% whole wheat flour in a country bread with 15% sprouted wheat.

Although I don’t have that much experience using sprouted grains it’s something that has always intrigued me. Mainly because of the purported health benefits but also because of the delicious flavor.

For one thing, when you use a sprouted grain like wheat you are using the entire grain. At this point it’s already much more nutritious than white flour but not any better than your average whole wheat flour. What causes sprouted grains to excel so greatly in nutrition is the activation of enzymes in the sprouting process. These enzymes breakdown some starches before they get to your body making bread made from these grains easier to digest. The sprouting also increases levels of some vitamins and protein.

On top of all these nutritional advantages sprouted wheat also tastes great! It is much more sweet tasting than whole wheat flour and doesn’t have any of the bitterness. It’s these flavors that led me to the idea of trying sprouted wheat in a country bread.

The finished loaf had outstanding flavor! It was quite sweet from the sprouted wheat and very mildly sour probably from making it as a straight dough instead of retarding. I feel like I could increase the sprouted wheat to 25-35% of dough weight and still get a great mild sprouted wheat flavor. If I went that high with normal whole wheat it would dominate the flavor and have that bitter whole wheat taste. I think I’m going to be using sprouted wheat a lot more often in my breads.

For the formula, process and more photos visit aBreaducation.

breaducation's picture

In my last post, I experimented with spelt flour in a country bread. The flavor was very appealing with slight nutty undertones and the bread came out great! However, I'm never satisfied with my last bread and always want to push into new areas. So I decided to increase the spelt in the formula from 10% to 20%.

I didn't stop there however, as at the last second I decided to add in polenta. I've tried using polenta in bread before and liked the result. There are a few steps to take when adding polenta or any grain for that matter into a bread.

Soft grains and seeds need to be soaked in water first so that they don't steal water from the dough and change the dough composition. With a hard grain like polenta you may need to go a step further and either use a boiling water soaker or just cook the grain beforehand. I elected to cook the polenta as I didn't have time to let it soak in hot water for 2+ hours. Once the polenta was cooled off I simply hand mixed it into my dough.

The loaf was dusted with cornmeal to hint at the polenta on the inside.

But that is not all! Like I said, I had put polenta in bread before and liked it but this time I really wanted to try something new. I decided to consult The Flavor Bible which is one of my absolute favorite books for cooking and baking. It is essentially a list of just about every ingredient you can think of and then under each ingredient is another list of all the other things that pair well with that ingredient. I simply looked up polenta and found a number of options that would go great with it. I decided on roasted garlic.


The still-warm crumb.

If you've never added roasted garlic to your bread I highly recommend it! Think garlic bread except the garlic is built into the bread instead of spread on top. It created a wonderful aroma throughout the apartment while baking. How to add roasted garlic to bread you ask? Simply roast the garlic with your preferred method and allow to cool. Then chop up and mix into your dough by hand. I went with four medium to large sized cloves in my 500g. loaf. I think I could have doubled that though and been fine(the garlic flavor I got was mild and subtle).

All in all this loaf was quite delicious and I would definitely bake it again especially if I was making bread for an Italian dinner.

tfranko29's picture

starting a second Country Bread, but first a question

February 5, 2012 - 7:42am -- tfranko29

Hi Gang,

I recently made the Tartine Country Bread and it was very fun to make and eat.  I'd like to do it again, but I need a little help.  In step 4 of my recipe, Chad says, "Save your leftover leaven; it is now the beginning of a new starter.  To keep it alive to make future loaves, continue to feed it as described in step 2."  Can I feed it once then start another loaf tomorrow?  or does he want me to feed it until it predicably rises and falls, perhaps another 15 days?

Sylviambt's picture

It feels great to be back on the bike. Made my first loaf of a long-fermenting bread after more than a year away from real baking. I'm still getting my sea legs back, but there were glossy holes in the crumb and the crust sang when I pulled the loaves of Country Bread (Hamelman) from the oven.

Will post photos this evening.


dmsnyder's picture


I've read with great interest discussions of home milling flour since I first joined TFL, but not wanting to get into the more arcane techniques of grain tempering, multiple graduated sifters and the like put me off. My interest was boosted by MC's interviews with Gérard Rubaud, who uses fresh hand milled grains to build his levains. (See Building a levain "à la Gérard": step 1) My recent experience chopping rye berries by hand did it though. I ordered the grain mill attachment for my KitchenAid Accolade mixer.

I'd been looking at grain mills for some time. I considered the Nutrimill, but I don't need to grind pounds and pounds of flour, and, from what I've read, it does not grind as coarse as I'd like to make cracked and chopped grains. Hand-cranked mills look cool, but my tiled kitchen counters don't work with appliances attached by vises. So, the KitchenAid attachment was a nice solution. I used it today for the first time.

KitchenAid Grain Mill

Based on my reading of reviews of this device, I ground some hard red winter wheat and some spelt berries by putting each through three passes of increasing fineness. I just ground about 200 g of each. There was no indication that this strained my mixer motor in the least. Each pass took 30 seconds or less. The resulting flour was a tad coarser than what I buy already milled, but finer than, say, semolina.

Fresh ground spelt flour

Fresh ground hard red winter wheat flour

My formula and procedures take off from Chad Robertson's “Basic Country Bread” in Tartine Bread.


Total Dough




Wt (g)

Baker's %

KAF Sir Galahad (AP) flour*



Fresh-ground WW



Fresh-ground Spelt












*Note: The small amount of WW and Dark Rye in the levain are not calculated separately in the Total Dough.






Wt (g)

Baker's %

KAF Sir Galahad (AP) flour






BRM Dark Rye






Ripe levain






  1. Dissolve the levain in the water. Add the flours and mix thoroughly.

  2. Ferment at room temperature for 12 hours (overnight).


Final Dough



Wt (g)

KAF Sir Galahad (AP) flour


Fresh-ground WW


Fresh-ground Spelt


Liquid levain


Water (80ºF)







  1. In a large bowl, dissolve 200 g of the levain in 700 g of the water.

  2. Add all the flours and mix to a shaggy mass. Cover tightly.

  3. Autolyse for 25-30 minutes. (Longer would be okay.)

  4. Sprinkle the salt over the dough and add 50 g of water.

  5. Knead in the bowl by squishing the dough between your fingers until all the water has been incorporated and the salt is well-distributed. Then, still in the bowl, fold the dough over itself a few times.

  6. Transfer the dough to a large clean, lightly oiled bowl or other container, such as a rising bucket. Cover tightly. If possible, place the dough in an ambient temperature of 75-80ºF.

  7. After 30 minutes, stretch and fold the dough in its container 15-20 times. (By the end of this, the dough should be smooth, and it should pull away from the container easily when you stretch it.) Re-cover the dough. Repeat this at 30 minute intervals for two hours, then one more time an hour later. (The dough should have expanded by 25-50% and be light and full of small bubbles which you can see if your container is transparent. If it has been fermented at a cooler temperature, give it another hour, or even 2 hours.)

  8. When the dough is fully fermented, transfer it to a lightly floured board and divide it into two equal pieces.

  9. Pre-shape the pieces as rounds. Cover with plastic or a towel and let them rest for 20-30 minutes.

  10. Shape as boules or bâtards. Place in bannetons or en couche and cover.

  11. Proof for about 90 to 120 minutes, depending on ambient temperature.

  12. Pre-heat your oven to 500ºF. If not baking covered, pre-heat a baking stone and prepare your oven for steaming. (I baked these boules in Lodge Combo Cookers.)

  13. If baking uncovered, bake at 460ºF with steam for about 40 minutes. Then turn off the oven and leave the door ajar for another 10 minutes to dry the crust. If baking covered , bake at 480ºF for 15 minutes, then at 450-460ºF uncovered for another 25-30 minutes.

  14. Transfer the loaves to a cooling rack.

  15. Cool thoroughly before slicing.

Boules after baking 15 minutes, covered

Boule, cooling


Chewy crust and tender crumb. Whole wheat dominates the aroma of the bread sliced still warm but the flavor is sweet and mellow without any perceptible sourness. I'm looking forward to tasting it toasted tomorrow morning.


Submitted to YeastSpotting


bshuval's picture

Raymond Blanc's Kitchen Secrets: bread

March 30, 2010 - 1:09am -- bshuval

In the UK there is a fantastic TV show called "Raymond Blanc's Kitchen Secrets". It's a delightful program presented by the wonderfully enthusiastic Raymond Blanc. His passion with food is thoroughly addictive. In each of the series' eight episodes, Raymond Blanc concentrates on a topic and showcases several related recipes. Some are quite simple, some are exceedingly complex, and Raymond does them with such grace and ease it is a joy to watch. There's a genuine feeling of honesty throughout the series.


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