Okay – I’ll say it. I LOVE BREAD!! and the crustier the better. Since I had just cooked up a batch of Mushroom Barley Soup which I will post tonight after we eat it, I wanted some great bread to go along with it. This wonderfully fragrant, crusty bread comes form the Jacques Pepin’s Table cookbook and it is fun to make and even better to eat.
Yield: One large round free-form loaf
4 cups, unbleached all-pupose flour, plus 1 teaspoon for sprinklin on the loaves
1/2 cup rye flour
1/2 cup wheat bran
1 teaspoon granulated yeast (active dry)
2.5 teaspoons Kosher salt
2.33 cups cool tap water plus 1 Tablespoon to throw on the oven floor
2 Tablespoons cornmeal
- Place the flours, salt, yeast and 2.33 cups of water in the bowl of a standing mixer. Mix at low speed for 3 to 4 minutes to create a smmoth, but slightly sticky dough. If you have a large food processor you could do it in there and it should come together in about a minute.
- Transfer the dough to a deep glass or ceramic bowl or a plastic measuring bucket (If you make a lot of bread, these are great!). Cover with a lid or plastic wrap and allow to rise at room temperature overnight (12-14 hours).
- After the dough has risen, bring the sides of the dough into the center of the bowl, folding it in on itself. It is easier to use a dough spatula than your hands becasue it will be sticky. If you use your hands, lightly flour them first. Press down on the dough to get all of the excess air out and form it into a ball as best you can. Line a baking sheet with parchment or a Silpat and sprinkle it with the cornmeal. Place the dough seam side down in the center of the pan. Invert the bowl or bucket over the dough. It should be bigger than your dough circumferance so it won’t stick.
- Allow the dough to rise at room temperature for another 1.5 hours.
- About 20 minutes before the end of the rising time, preheat your oven to 425 degrees F.
- Sprinkle the risen dough with the teaspoon of flour and using a serrated knife, cut some decorative slits across the top. Place the loaf in the hot oven and throw a Tablespoon of tap water into the bottom of the oven – NOT OVER THE DOUGH. Immediately close the oven door and bake for 15 minutes. Then lower the heat to 400 degrees F and continue baking for 1 hour more.
- Remove the bread from the baking sheet and allow to cool on a wire rack for at least 3 hours before cutting. Wrapped in plastic, the bread will keep for up to 4-5 days and it can be frozen.