Friday, February 20, 2009

Simple Country Bread

Simple French country bread. But country is country, right? :-) I suppose I should have taken a picture with some lavender next to it....
(Makes 1 LARGE loaf or 2 small ones, I doubled the recipe for my giant loaves above)

3 tsp instant dry yeast (this is equal to 0.9 oz fresh yeast (you lucky dog if you have it!) or 3 3/4 tsp active dry yeast)
2 heaping teaspoons of salt
1 tablespoon honey
2 1/4 cup water
1 1/4 cup whole wheat flour
2.5 - 3 cups all purpose white flour
Another 1/2 cup of all-purpose flour for kneading and putting on top of bread before baking.

Combine the water and honey in a bowl and add the yeast.
Mix the salt in a little of the WW flour (to not kill the yeast), add it and all the WW flour and the AP flour. Mix until you have an even, pretty loose and sticky dough.
You can use a mixer or do it by hand with a wood spatula.
Put a towel over your bowl, place in a warm area, and let it rise for an hour.

Pour the dough out on a well-floured table. Add another 1/2 cup or so of AP flour into the dough and knead it for 5 minutes. You need plenty of flour on your hands! At this point your dough should be nice and non-sticky.
Shape the dough into a large round (or make 2 small ones if you'd rather have that). Move the loaf onto a baking sheet (non-stick or covered with parchment paper.) I have 2 Brotforms (Breadform in German) that I got for my birthday last year and they are great. They are hand-woven cane bread rising baskets from Germany and give your bread that rustic look. I love mine. I dust the Brotform with flour before I put the dough in there which adds to the rustic look.
Let the bread go through the final proofing for another 20 minutes while your oven heats to 475 F.

Bake your bread in the middle of your oven for 15 minutes. Then lower the temperature to 400 C and bake until done, usually another 40 minutes or so. Let your bread cool, preferrably on a cooling rack.
You can spray some water into your oven before your put the bread in as well - that gives you a crustier crust. :-)

This bread is delicious with stews, soups and it makes a great picnic/hiking bread.

Aaaahhhh....simple things are good.

This recipe is slightly modified from one of my favorite Swedish cookbooks called "Love, Thyme and Olives" - well, it's written by 2 Swedish women, but the food is all mediterranean. :-)


YD said...

Help me please! I can't stop drooling over the bread!

Heike said...

Too bad I have cut down all bread, pasta, potatoes and rice for some weeks. But SOON I will try this recipe! Looks gorgeous - I can smell it... and hear the crunching... aaaah Just with some butter on and a good cup of coffee to it.... (Or without butter and just some nice dry, fruity German Riesling... Oh my god, I have to stop right here.
xo Heike

inadvertent farmer said...

I was going to make whole wheat sandwich bread today but you have changed my mind. I'm gonna try your yummy recipe...oh how I love new recipes!!! Thanks, Kim

Lena said...

YD: Sorry, girlfriend. The only help is to actually make the bread. You can use to, you know, help soak up the :-)

Heike: I admire your strength to be able to cut away bread for some weeks. I've already resigned myself to the impossibility for me. I love to bake it - and I love to eat it. I'll make concessions elsewhere for it. Like with wine. ;-)

Kim: It's only fair that I inspire you after the WW Cinnamon Raisin bread recipe you provided. I've made it twice now, and my mom "steals" loaves from my freezer and friends BEG me to make it and trade (for honey, eggs etc.) I hope it turns out well, come back and let me know. And take some of your wonderful pictures!!!