Country Loaf

This is a super easy everyday loaf. The recipe calls for making it with all-purpose flour, but I think I’m going to use bread flour the next time around. And there will be a next time, maybe even tomorrow. It’s that easy.

Even though the gluten formation was remarkable at the shaping stage, I got no holey crumb, which was really disappointing. Not sure why. But the crumb is super soft, and will make great sandwich bread.

This is a great first time loaf, for those wanting to make bread at home. It requires hardly any hands-on time (maybe an hour total).

Country Loaf

1 kg all-purpose flour

650 g water

5 g Active Dry yeast, dissolved in 50 g water

22 g salt

Mix the flour and water together, using a dough hook on your mixer, or by hand, until the dough is smooth, about 3-4 minutes.

Cover and let it rest for an hour.

Mix in the yeast-water mixture and the salt and beat on low for a minute until blended. Then increase speed to medium high and continue to knead for 5 minutes.

Transfer the dough to a lightly oiled bowl and cover with plastic wrap and rest for half an hour.

Fold the dough over on itself once. Cover again and let it do its thing for an hour and a half.

The dough should have risen quite a bit by now. Almost double.

Turn the dough out carefully onto a floured surface. Divide in two and shape each half into a round. Cover with a cloth and set aside for 15 mts.

Uncover and shape them again into a tighter round, tucking the seam on the bottom. Transfer each loaf, seam-side up to a proofing basket or any round/ oval bowl lined with a well-floured muslin cloth. Put each bowl into separate clean plastic bags. Store the bowls in the bags in the refrigerator for an hour and a half.

Meanwhile preheat the oven to 260 deg C, with a Dutch oven inside.

Slowly flip the loaf over onto a parchment paper, seam-side down and lower the paper and loaf into the hot Dutch oven pan. Spray the loaf lightly with water, and score the loaves.

Close with the lid and put in the oven for 15 minutes. Lower the temperature to 230 deg C, and continue to bake for a further 15 minutes. Now remove the lid on the Dutch oven and continue to bake for a further 15 minutes, so 45 minutes in total.

Remove carefully and transfer to a wire rack and allow to cool for an hour, before slicing.



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