My Take on The Country Loaf
I have only been seriously baking sourdough bread for about six months now with my sourdough starter which I built from scratch in January this year. Although I used to cook professionally and have worked with many bakers and pastry chefs for years, I never really make time (which I don't really have much) to explore artisan bread. Until recently, I really want my family to enjoy top quality bread every day and also for my children to know how good breads are made. I named my starter Blossom. My kids are fascinated when I let them feed my “pet” for baking, and knowing it can do “tricks” such as to make holes in a loaf of bread and to make the bread tasty. They also know that most of the time Blossom likes to “sleep” in the fridge. :)
I’ve baked many different loaves from different books and formulas from here in the past months and my favorite bread is pain de campagne. I was so inspired by the Overnight Country Brown of FWSY book posted by David of dmsnyder that I have to bake one right away after I’ve read about it. I don’t have FWSY book and my local library doesn’t have it either so I just made up a formula based on David’s notes. It worked out really well.
This loaf was intended for sandwiches so I chose 75% for dough hydration with 20% preferment flour.
Levain @ 75% hydration
50g white starter @ 100% hydration
75g rye flour
Mix all together and leave for 12 hours at room temperature of 17oC
175g rye levain
75g Australia’s Four Leaf whole wheat flour
325g Australia’s Laucke organic plain flour (11.5% protein)
Mix two types of flours together with cold water, save 50g of water for a second hydration, and leave to autolyse for 12 hours at room temperature of 17oC.
When the levain is domed, add to the dough along with salt and the rest of the water. Mix for a few minutes until the dough is smooth and make sure levain is evenly mixed through the dough. Bulk fermentation for 5 hours at 19oC room temperature with three double letter folds at 60, 120 and 180 minutes. Shape and leave the dough for another two hours before pop it in the fridge to retard for 12 hours.
Preheat oven to 250oC. Score and bake the dough straight from the fridge in a Dutch oven (I baked this loaf in a Schlemmertopf). Immediately turn the oven down to 230oC and bake 25 minutes with the lid on and another 20 minutes with the lid off.
Although the method seemed to take a long time from start to finish, it suits my schedule very well. I built the levain and mixed flour with water before bed time and left to autolyse overnight. They were all ready for dough mixing at noon. The shaped dough was ready to go to the fridge for retarding overnight at 5pm. The dough then baked off the first thing in the morning at 5.30 am (I set the timer for oven to be on at 4.45 am so it is preheated and ready for baking). I sliced the loaf for breakfast at 7.30 and packed sandwiches for lunch boxes too. The whole loaf was consumed by dinner so I have no idea what it would taste like the next day. It was a very tasty loaf. The crust was thin and crunchy, the crumb was moist and soft. It tastes creamy and sweet as if I’ve added sugar to it with no hint of sourness at all. Very delicious bread indeed!
I dedicate this loaf to all the talented bakers here at TFL for their efforts to share the knowledge and experience in artisan bread making. Also I’d like thank Floyd for creating and hosting this wonderful website.
Happy baking everyone!