Rustic Country Bread - Standing Mixer Version

From America's Test Kitchen Season 3: Rustic Bread at Home

Why this recipe works:

For our rustic country bread recipe, we decided to use a sponge starter, left to ferment and then combined with additional flour, water, and other ingredients. We soon learned that dough with a high water content produces a chewier texture. So we ended up with a wet dough, which was tricky to… read more

For our rustic country bread recipe, we decided to use a sponge starter, left to ferment and then combined with additional flour, water, and other ingredients. We soon learned that dough with a high water content produces a chewier texture. So we ended up with a wet dough, which was tricky to work with but resulted in the rough, chewy, and substantial loaf we were looking for. For a finishing touch to our rustic country bread recipe, we added whole wheat and rye flours to the ingredients because they contribute to this bread's full flavor.

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Makes 1 large round loaf

Because of its high water content, the bread will be gummy if pulled from the oven too soon. To ensure the bread’s doneness, make sure its internal temperature reads 210 degrees by inserting an instant-read thermometer into the bottom of the loaf. Also, look at the crust—it should be very dark brown, almost black. Keep in mind that rising times vary depending on kitchen temperature (the times listed below are minimums). You can vary the texture by increasing or decreasing the flour. For bread with a finer crumb and less chewy texture, increase the flour by 1/4 cup increments. For coarser, chewier bread, decrease the flour by the same increments. To develop a crisp crust, you need to bake the bread on tiles or a stone. To vary flavors, add 1 tablespoon minced hearty herbs, such as rosemary or thyme, with the salt or mix in 1/2 cup chopped toasted walnuts or pecans just before kneading ends.

Ingredients

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