Tuesday, 9 November 2010

Country Bread: Mellow Bakers

The next bread in the lineup for the Mellow Bakers is a Country French Bread.  Country Bread is made with a small percentage of yeast and a high percentage of pre-fermented flour, and utilizes a long fermentation process.

I like country bread because it’s easy to make and has a simple taste that goes well with a lot of different foods.  It’s especially good as a sandwich bread because the flavor of the bread doesn’t compete with the flavors in the sandwich.

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This bread can be made into ovals or rounds, crusty rolls, or large boules.  I made an oval loaf and a round loaf and baked them in my La Cloche to get a chewy and delicious crust.  The oven spring was tremendous with the La Cloche.

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Country Bread

Makes: Two large loaves

The formula for this Country Bread can be found on page 113 of Bread: A Baker’s Book of Techniques and Recipes by Jeffrey Hamelman.

Due to copyright issues, we’re unable to post the recipe, but you might enjoy these comparable breads:

  • French-Style Bread – The ingredients and process for making this bread are similar to Hamelman’s method. This one uses the sponge, or poolish, method -- no feedings, little pre-planning, lots of flexibility and superb bread. The dough, sponge starter and all, can be made in the bread machine, by hand, in the food processor, or using your stand mixer.
  • Country French Bread - This is a very easy recipe for French Bread. Make it into round loaves or baguettes. Prepare the dough one day, refrigerate it over night and bake it the next.


This bread utilizes a pre-ferment of bread flour, water, salt and yeast.  I made the pre-ferment on Friday night and let it stand for 12 to 16 hours, then decided not to bake the bread on Saturday so I put the preferment in the refrigerator overnight.

The next day, I took the preferment out of the refrigerator and cut it into pieces.  I covered the pieces and let them warm up to room temperature on the counter.

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Then I mixed the rest of the ingredients and added the pre-ferment in chunks.  The dough was moderately loose, with moderate gluten development.

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The dough fermented for 2 1/2 hours and during this time I folded it twice at 50-minute intervals. 

Then I divided the dough into two equal pieces and shaped one into oval shape and the other into a round shape and placed them in the banneton baskets seam-side up.  My dough was really wet so I sort of plopped it into the baskets and covered them with plastic.

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After the loaves had proofed for about an hour and a half, I transferred them from the banneton baskets to the La Cloche.

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I scored the oval loaf down the middle with a serrated tomato knife.

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Then I scored the round loaf in a pound pattern.

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Then I baked each loaf in a preheated 450 degrees oven.  I didn’t preheat or soak the La Cloche.

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After about 15 minutes or so, I removed the La Cloche lid and continued baking the loaves until they were golden brown.

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Look at the oven spring on these breads. 

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This is the crumb shot of the oval loaf.  

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I tried a piece the first night and I must admit that I didn’t like it that much.  It was a bit lacking in flavor.  However, I tried it again a couple of days later and it tasted much better.  This bread will last a little bit longer because of the pre-ferment and longer fermentation periods.


The Mellow Bakers group was started by Paul at Yumarama. We’re baking breads from Bread: A Baker’s Book of Techniques and Recipes by Jeffrey Hamelman.


Thanks for joining us in the Bread Experience bread-baking blog.  Please join us again soon. Check out what the other bakers have been up to in the Mellow Bakers group.

Happy Baking!

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