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Close up side view of entire country bread loaf.

Country Bread

A delightful, delicious, chewy, faux sourdough bread that is perfect for sandwiches or dipping into a hot bowl of soup.
5 from 3 votes
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Prep Time: 45 mins
Cook Time: 40 mins
Total Time: 1 hr 25 mins
Servings: 1 loaf
Calories: 251kcal
Author: Mary-Lou

Ingredients

Starter

  • 120 grams high-grade flour bread flour
  • 150 grams lukewarm water
  • ¼ teaspoon instant yeast

Bread Dough

  • All the starter
  • 230 grams lukewarm water
  • 1 teaspoon instant yeast
  • 2 tablespoons granulated sugar
  • 480 grams high-grade flour bread flour
  • 10 grams salt 2 tsp
  • 2-3 tablespoons neutral oil

Instructions

  • Starter
  • Combine the flour, warm water and yeast in a bowl. Mix until the flour is mostly hydrated.
  • Cover the starter mixture with a tea towel and either leave on the kitchen counter overnight (if it is cool) or in the fridge (for the warmer days and months).
  • The next morning, the starter should have risen and be covered in air pockets.
  • Bread Dough
  • Add the lukewarm water, yeast and sugar to the starter and mix to combine all ingredients.
  • Add in about 400 grams of the flour, along with the salt and mix to form a loose shaggy dough.
  • All the dough to rest for 15 – 20 minutes.
  • Place half of the leftover flour on the counter. Empty the bread dough on top of the flour, then sprinkle the rest of the flour onto the dough.
  • Grease your bowl with vegetable oil and set it aside.
  • Optional – grease your hands with a bit of vegetable oil.
  • Knead the dough for 10 – 12 minutes or until you have achieved the windowpane stage.
  • Place your dough into the greased bowl. Cover with a tea towel and allow to proof for 1 to 2 hours.
  • Shaping the dough
  • Prepare the banneton (brotform or proofing basket) by flouring the inside of the basket. If you don’t have a banneton, drape a clean tea towel in a glass or plastic bowl, and flour liberally.
  • You can either make a single large loaf or divide the loaf into two and shape into your desired shapes.
  • Place the dough into the proofing baskets or bowls, seam side up. Cover with a tea towel and allow to rest for 30 to 90 minutes (dependent on how warm it is). Until the dough has roughly increased in size by about 50% or passes the poke test.
  • Baking the bread
  • Preheat the oven to 220°C or 200°C fan-assisted.
  • Cut out the baking paper on which you can place your bread dough. If using a cast-iron pot, cut the paper to make two long handles for ease of bread placement.
  • Option 1 – if using a dutch oven or cast-iron pot, place it into the oven to preheat.
  • Option 2 – if using a baking sheet (cookie sheet), place an additional cookie sheet or dish into the bottom of the oven to preheat.
  • Take the bread out of the banneton or proofing baskets. Place on the baking paper and score the bread.
  • Option 1 – place the bread into the cast-iron pot, splash with water, close and place in oven.
  • Option 2 – place the bread onto the cookie sheet. Put the bread into the oven. Pour boiling water into the sheet or dish at the bottom of the oven to create steam.
  • Option 1 – Bake for 20 minutes and remove the lid from the pot. Before baking for an additional 15 – 20 minutes. The bread will be done when it has reached an internal temperature of 100°C (190 F) or sounds hollow when tapped.
  • Option 2 – bake the bread for 35 – 40 minutes. The bread will be done when it has reached an internal temperature of 100°C (190 F) or sounds hollow when tapped.
  • Allow the bread to cool completely on a wired cooling rack before slicing.

Notes

Autolyse – this recipe calls for a resting stage before adding the final flour and kneading. This allows the flour to absorb all the water, which stimulates gluten development. The dough can be left to rest for anything from 20 minutes up to 3 hours.
Trust the recipe. At first, it may seem that there is just too much moisture in the dough. It’s a mess, its sticking to your hands. But as you knead and work that gluten it will become more cohesive and tighten up
Kneading can be done by hand or by using a stand mixer.
The windowpane test lets you know when the dough has been kneaded enough. Simply take about half of your bread dough and gently stretch it out. If you can hold it up to the light without the dough tearing, she is done.
Using a cast-iron pot or Dutch oven is the gold standard when it comes to sourdough or rustic artisanal bread baking.
Steam is great for making sure your bread gets the biggest oven spring it can in the first 15 -20 minutes of baking before the crust starts to brown which impedes growth.
Scoring a loaf allows for the bread dough to rise in an orderly fashion.
The poke-proof test is a simple test to determine whether your dough is finished proofing.
You poke and the dough pops back immediately – under proofedYou poke and the dough doesn’t pop back at all – over-proofed
You poke and the dough pops back but still leaves an indentation – perfectly proofed
White sugar can be substituted with brown sugar, honey, or even syrup.
Between 25 and 50% of the white bread flour (high-grade flour) can be replaced with whole-wheat flour.

Nutrition

Serving: 1slice | Calories: 251kcal | Carbohydrates: 53g | Protein: 7g | Fat: 1g | Sodium: 326mg | Fiber: 2g | Sugar: 2g

Nutrition information is an estimate. If scaling the recipe remember to scale your cook and bakeware accordingly.

Did you make this recipe?Mention @marylou_saltyginger on Instagram and tag or #saltygingerblog so that I can see your creations!
Course :Breads and Muffins
Cuisine :Global
Keyword :bread