Rustic French Bread

This recipe is super simple and produces a loaf that is versatile enough to become a regulator bread recipe. Because the starter is really more of a poolish, it does not take a lot of planning.

Letting the starter rest for a few hours does help develop depth of flavor without having to fully feed it for several days.

Rustic French Bread

Yields: 1 loaf

Prep Time: 4 hours (more if you let your starter rest longer)

Bake Time: about 30 minutes

Ingredients

For the poolish/starter:

1/4 cup rye flour

1/2 cup AP or bread flour

1/4 teaspoon yeast

1/2 cup lukewarm water

For the dough:

1/2 teaspoon yeast

1/2 Tablespoon sugar

1 teaspoon salt

2 cups flour (bread is preferable, but AP works)

1/2 cup lukewarm water

All of the starter

Directions:

Combine the ingredients for the starter/poolish. Stir and cover tightly or place in air- tight container (I use a large jar with a screw-on lid). Let sit, covered, for at least 2 hours. This can sit as long as overnight.

Combine the starter/poolish, yeast, sugar, salt, flour, and water. Mix until combined. Place in a lightly-oiled bowl and cover with a clean towel. Let rise for about an hour, until the dough is almost doubled in size.

Once the dough has risen, remove from the bowl. Place on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper. Gently cover with a lightly oiled wrap (such as plastic wrap or a reusable wrap). Let rise another 45 minutes.

Preheat oven to 475º F. After the dough has had its second rise, gently remove the wrap and slash the dough with a sharp knife. Bake at 475º for about 15 minutes, then lower temperature to 425º F and bake for another 15 minutes.

*To get a harder crust on your bread, use a spray bottle filled with water to occasionally spritz during the bake (this mimics a steam oven to get a harder crust).

Hopefully this recipe makes sense!

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