Crusty Country Loaf

The magic of this beautiful rustic loaf comes from blending 60% Edison all-purpose flour with 40% Expresso bread flour and letting this simple dough of flour, water, yeast and salt slowly ferment overnight. The loaf that comes out of the oven has an enticing aroma, a crackly, golden-brown crispy crust and soft, cream-colored open crumb that has subtle hints of caramel and nuts. So satisfying!

Jerilyn Brusseau

Prep Time

45 min

Bake Time

50 min

Total Time

17 hrs 35 min

Yield

One large loaf

Ingredients:

2 2/3 cups (346g) organic Edison flour

1 ¾ cups (230g) organic Expresso flour

1 teaspoon (5g) instant yeast

2 scant teaspoons (11g) sea salt

2 cups (460 g) water, at room temperature

Baker’s Notes:

*Late afternoon or early evening are good times to mix this dough for overnight fermentation. When your next day's schedule permits, anywhere from 12-16 hours later, start shaping/proofing.

**In our experience, this Crusty Country Loaf seems to perform at its best after rising for 15-16 hours.

Instructions:

  1. In a medium-size bowl, combine flour, yeast, and salt. Stir lightly to combine ingredients.
  2. Slowly add water and mix with your hands to thoroughly moisten every bit of flour.
  3. Cover the bowl tightly with plastic wrap* (see Baker's Notes). Let rest at room temperature for 12-16 hours to ensure slow fermentation. As dough rises, it will become wet and sticky.
  4. After 12-16 hours** (see Baker's Notes), when small bubbles break on surface of the dough, it is time to pre-shape the loaf.
  5. Sprinkle a small amount of flour on a clean counter. Lightly sprinkle the surface of the dough with flour.
  6. Use a plastic or metal dough scraper to turn the dough out onto the counter, flour side down.
  7. Gently lift one side of the dough up and fold over the opposite side, like an envelope. 
  8. Turn the dough 90° and repeat the folds 3 more times until the dough becomes a round (boule).
  9. Lightly cover your pre-shaped loaf with plastic wrap and let rest for 30 minutes.
  10. While the dough is resting, line a medium-sized bowl or a rising basket (banneton) with a clean towel. Dust generously with flour.
  11. Lightly sprinkle the surface of the dough with flour. Turn the dough over with the dough scraper.
  12. Repeat the folding process from steps 7-8, lifting the dough up and over itself for the total of 4 times, turning 90° each time to shape the dough into a ball for the final rising. Use the scraper to create as much surface tension as possible. 
  13. Lift the ball with the dough scraper, place the top of the ball in the bottom of the bowl, seam side up. Pinch the seam together. Dust lightly with flour. Cover with a tea towel. Let rest.
  14. When the dough has been rising for 40 minutes, place your baking vessel, such as a Dutch oven with a lid, on an oven rack positioned in the lower third of the oven.
  15. Preheat the oven to 500°. If using a baking stone, preheat with the baking stone in, positioned in the lower third of the oven.
  16. At 1 hour 30 minutes of rising time, lightly touch the top of the loaf. If an imprint of your finger remains, it’s time to bake. If not, let rise for an additional 15 minutes.
  17. Cut a strip of parchment paper 9"x18". Place the parchment strip over the loaf.
  18. Gently turn the loaf out onto the counter. Using a lame, an old-fashioned double-edge razor blade, or a sharp knife, score the top of the loaf in your favorite way to allow the loaf to expand in the oven.
  19. With extra-thick oven mitts, quickly remove your Dutch oven to the stove top. Uncover.
  20. Using the parchment strip as a "sling," lower the loaf into the Dutch oven.
  21. With hot mitts, cover the pot and return it to the oven.
  22. Lower the oven temperature to 450° and bake for 30 minutes.
  23. After 30 minutes have passed, carefully remove the lid using oven mitts.
  24. Bake for an additional 20 minutes until the loaf is well browned and the crust makes a hollow sound when tapped with a finger.
  25. Remove the bread from the oven. Place the loaf on a rack to cool for at least 1-2 hours.

Baker’s Notes:

*Late afternoon or early evening are good times to mix this dough for overnight fermentation. When your next day's schedule permits, anywhere from 12-16 hours later, start shaping/proofing.

**In our experience, this Crusty Country Loaf seems to perform at its best after rising for 15-16 hours.


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