I haven't baked bread for quite some time. A pitiful situation which had to be brought to an end. ;) The final kick to get back to making bread came from reading 52 Loaves by William Alexander, which describes the quest of making the perfect loaf by baking the same bread each week for one year. It's a fun read and most home bakers can probably relate to the experiences of the author as gets familiar and tinkers with all the steps necessary to bake bread. (e.g weigh or measure; knead by hand/machine/how long; use steam yes/no/how to generate; is it worth nuke-ing the oven for the perfect loaf?)
The recipe used in the book is a pain de campagne or peasant bread made with sourdough. As I had tossed out my sourdough sometime in the summer, I used a recipe with a pre-ferment. The bread turned out quite well with a nicely chewy crust and small-pored, soft crumb. Definitely a keeper.
I'm sending this to Susan's YeastSpotting.
Adapted from Dough by Richard Bertinet
200 g white flour (all-purpose flour/Type 550)
50 g rhye flour (Type 1150)
5 g fresh yeast
5 g salt
175 ml water
all of the pre-ferment
500 g white flour (all-purpose flour/Type 550)
100 g rhye flour (Type 1150)
5 g fresh yeast
15 g salt
400 ml water
corn grit (polenta) for dusting the peel
Mix together all the ingredients of the pre-ferment, cover with cling film a nd leave in the fridge overnight.
The next day, add the pre-ferment and all the other ingredients into a large bowl,and knead into a smooth, elastic dough. Cover with a dish towel and let rise for 1 hour.
Transfer the dough to the countertop and form into a boule. (Flatten the dough slightly into a disk shape and start to fold the rim into the center while rotating the dough on the benchtop, until you end up with a ball-shaped dough with a circular seam on top.)
Transfer the ball into the bowl, cover with a towel and let rise for 1 hour.
Repeat the shaping procedure. Line your bowl (or a proofing basket) with a well-floured towel, transfer the dough into the bowl, cover with a towel and let rise for 1 hour. Preheat the oven to 220°C.
Transfer the dough to a peel dusted with polenta and cut a circular slash around the top. Lightly spray the inside of the oven with water. Transfer the dough into the oven and bake for about 40 minutes. The final bread should sound hollow when tapped underneath.