The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

Pain Rustique

blockkevin's picture

Pain Rustique

Hello Again,  

I have been working on a formula for creating a very wet dough made with a large percentage of my all white liquid starter. Usually I don't tackle this kind of dough, as I don't own a mixer, and I find I have a hard time getting enough gluten development mixing a dough with 80% hydration by hand. I came up with this formula by stealing an idea from Local Breads and using a large percentage of preferment in the form of a "biga naturale." I found the flavor of this bread to be quite nice, not overly sour, but with a good depth of flavor. In terms of working with the dough, it was very wet, and sticky, I don't know if my addition of Vital Wheat Gluten made it any easier to work with or not and I would by interested to trying this formula again with a higher protien flour without the addition of the Vital Wheat, to see if there is any difference in "workability." The finished product had a nice texture, and although the crust didn't get as crispy as I would have liked there was an enjoyable "toothsomness" that I would almost equate to the texture of a bagel.  

 Pain Rustique

Biga Naturale    

  • * Liquid Starter(Refreshed 8 hours earlier) 28g 14%   
  • * Water(78deg) 140g 70%   
  • * KAF AP flour 198g 99%   
  • * Vital Wheat Gluten 2g 1% 


  • * Biga Naturale 368g 74%   
  • * Water(78deg) 400g 80%   
  • * KAF AP flour 490g 98%   
  • * Vital Wheat Gluten 10g 2%   
  • * Salt 15g 3% 


I first mixed the biga in the morning before I had to go to work. I left it to ferment at room temperature for 10hrs, and when I returned from work the biga had doubled in size, and was wonderfully poofy, with a beautiful aroma, and a soft lacy texture. To mix the dough I dissolved the biga in the water, and added all of the other ingredients except salt, and left it to rest for 20 minutes. I then added the salt, and proceeded to mix the very slack dough by folding it over itself in the bowl for 5 minutes, resting 2 minutes, folding another 5 minutes, resting 2 minutes, and finally folding for an additional 5 minutes for a total mix time of 19 minutes. I  then put the dough into a large oiled rectangular container, and let it rest 30 minutes before giving it a turn. I then turned the dough 3 more times at 30 minute intervals before leaving it alone to finish fermenting, which took a total of 6 hours. When the dough was fully fermented it was very light, and filled up with lots of large air bubbles. I then heavily floured the counter, poured the dough out of the container, and divided the dough into 2 portions. I shaped the loaves by giving the dough a "book" fold, and proofed the dough on a heavily floured couche seam side down until the dough was approx 50% larger, and very light and bubbly. I baked on a preheated 450 deg. stone with steam for 15 minutes, then after removing the steam pan I turned the oven down to 400 and continued baking until done wich was approx. another 30 minutes. I hope you guys enjoy the pictures, and as always please feel free to ask questions, and give your comments and critiques. I really enjoy the encouragment that everyone seems to have for one another, and it just makes me strive to make better and better breads every time that I bake


dmsnyder's picture

Hi, blockkevin.

It looks like you have a winner!

The crust on these rustic breads doesn't stay crisp long. You can get a little more crunch by leaving the loaves in the oven with the heat off and the door cracked a couple of inches for 5-10 minutes. But, the bread has a lot of moisture in it which migrates outward and softens the dough pretty fast during cooling.