Recently I have been trying to find breads that deliver great flavor with a nutty after taste and also look good. After I found Mark Sinclair's Back Home Bakery recipe for Multi Grain bread I have come to appreciate his experience and sense for selecting grains and methods. I have made 5 or 6 batches of the Multi Grain and it is just so full of flavor I can't get over it.
I thought I would give his Rustic White Bread a try since he had recently changed the formula to include a Biga or sponge and it's a simple recipe that only requires starting the process the evening before. The link to the new recipe is here "Mark's Rustic White"
The recipe calls for a rye sour starter which I have going most of the time. I just started feeding my white 100% starter with Rye whole flour and in a day or 2 it was very active. The recipe calls for 15 grams of starter and if you don't want to convert or don't have a starter at the moment you can use 15 grams or whole rye and 1/4th tsp of yeast instead.
After about 10 hours the biga is active and has doubled at least and I think any time after that you can mix the dough. Mark has you add 50 grams of Whole Wheat in the final dough which is one of the things that helps with the flavor. It seems like a small amount but believe me this is a very good white bread.
One thing I did change the second time I made this bread was to reduce the amount of salt slightly. He calls for 25 grams in 1050 G of flour which I could taste. It wasn't salty enough that any one else has tasted it however so maybe it's just me. I lowered the salt to 2% or 21g, it's a little thing.
The dough is soft and not quite ciabatta like so you need to use flour on the counter when you do the folds and move quickly. The 2 in the picture below are 1.5 and 1 pound (on the right) which I didn't get the end tucked in. It does seal up well when I put the bottom side up in the banneton for proofing. The crumb is slightly ope, just enough that it's a great sandwich loaf also if you use a pan to bake in.
This is a simple white bread that has a complex and delicious flavor. The biga is a natural yeast so you do get a hint of mild sourdough taste. I retarded a loaf in the banneton overnight and got a slightly more sour flavor which was nice.
I think this would be a good base for all sorts of things. Savory or raisin come to mind. This will be my "Daily Bread" for a while. It's easy and surprisingly full of after taste flavor.
Mark's Rustic White