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Wednesday, September 30, 2020

Rustic Bread

This recipe in The Fresh Loaf probably has one of the longest list of comments. In fact comments and questions span over a good 15 years, from 2005 to 2020. I admire the long term commitment of the OP who still answers questions about his recipe tirelessly.

This recipe can be a bit daunting. The overnight preferment is stiff and it felt impossible to even get started ( what with my bad wrist ) without my Kitchen Aid. The dough to be added the next day was almost a disaster ( flying flour !) as I tried to take a shortcut and added the main dough into the preferement that was left to ferment in the mixer bowl overnight.

One of the things I took pains to do was to weight every item instead of using volume which is dicey for this recipe, considering the amount of comments about it being too wet, too dry etc.

Overall, I approached this recipe with much care and trepidation, making sure to give it enough time to proof from start to finish. Also, I have adopted the pull and fold method instead of punch down and knead. I have a weak spot for open texture in my bread and pull and fold seems to bring out the artisanal baker in me better! 

Verdict: Wee bland due to reduced salt in the main dough (my fault), uneven open texture that is sort of artisanal and a slight banana flavor of a ripe sour starter.

Alright, enough of this talk.  Let's get back to the action. The following are my own actions and some insights as to how I can do better the next time.

Credits: The Fresh Loaf by Floydm

Makes 1 big loaf.

Time: 2 days


The night before,

  1. Dissolve 1/8 tsp of instant yeast to 280ml of tepid boiled water. 
  2. Separately, combine 450g of bread flour and 1/2 tsp of sea salt.
  3. Tip flour into the yeast mixture, combine using the mixer until everything comes together.
  4. Cover. Leave to ferment overnight. I used this preferment the next day, 12 hours later.

The next morning, combine:

  1. 280g of bread flour + 170g wholemeal rye flour + 1/2 tsp salt + 1/2 tsp instant yeast 
  2. Tip mixture over 370ml of water. Mix. 

(Note: 1/2 tsp salt is my bland version. Floyd used 1/2 tbsp which should be more optimized )

With the preferment still in the mixer, use a hook to loosen up the now slightly poofy overnight preferment.

Add the dough mixture mentioned above.

Knead in the mixer for a good 10 minute until gluten forms, on low.

Transfer the kneaded dough to a greased pot.

Cover. Let it rise, about 1.5 hours.


Tip the shaggy dough onto a clean worktop.

Pull the left end of the dough and fold back to the middle.

Repeat for the other side.

Pull and fold the dough at the end farthest from you.

Repeat with the end nearest to you.

I enjoyed pulling and folding this monster and so did a couple of times.

Transfer the dough to a prepared (greased, dusted) Pullman.

Cover with oiled cling wrap, loosely.


When dough is about 1 inch from the top of the Pullman boix, preheat oven to 230C.

Score the dough as well as you possibly can ( as you can infer from here, I did quite poorly, with a token 4 inch score ).

Preheat the oven to 230C. I preheat the oven with a shallow rack with half a cup of water to encourage oven spring.


Just before baking, mist the dough using a mist spray.

Bake the bread at 35 min. It should be very tan.

Remove the bread whenever possible to cool it further on a rack.

Only slice the bread when bread is completely cool to avoid eating a gummy mess.

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