7 Hour Rustic Bread

by A.J. Coltrane

This is another attempt at a “same day rustic bread”. The last batch didn’t get mixed adequately. The recipe is the same as the last time, with some modifications — this recipe uses 1-1/4 tsp salt to 3c flour. (The salt was increased to .42 tsp per cup from .375 per cup.) This was also a 3 cup recipe rather than a one cup recipe, so the crust had time to get much darker — the color it’s supposed to be. There were also some time and handling differences.


Scaled to 1 cup flour Lahey/Bittman Reinhart This Loaf
Flour ap or bread bread bread
Water .44 cups .4-.5 cups, cold .5 cups, cold
Yeast .08 tsp .3 tsp .125 tsp
Salt .42 tsp .375 tsp .42 tsp

Because the dough was underworked on the last try I also decided to incorporate more folding, (only one during fold the last attempt) and the dough got an extra hour of time. I had originally intended for 8 hours with folds every two hours, but other stuff came up:

9 am – Mix dough

11 am – fold (stretch and fold over each direction one time)

1 pm – fold (x2)

2 pm – fold, wait 15 minutes, form into a ball as in the Lahey/Bittman recipe and place seam side down in a floured bowl. (I’m still sticking with trying the bowl, at some point I’ll have to try the towel as in the Lahey/Bittman recipe.)

4 pm -bake as the Lahey/Bittman recipe calls for.

The result:


I think I may have to start slashing these loaves — the bread has cooperated exactly one time getting nice ears and rising like I think it’s supposed to (out of four attempts). Either that, or I need to make sure the seams wind up on top, which is tricky with a dough this wet (of course, I *could* use a towel like the recipe calls for…).

The overall result was better than last time — it may be as a that as a dough with only flour, water, yeast, and salt, that there is a limit to how good a bread can be without an overnight rise or a preferment. I’m going to assume there’s still plenty of room between this dough and whatever that limit is.. The Lahey/Bittman recipe blows it away. It still made a nice turkey melt though:

Vaguely out of focus, but I've already eaten it, so it's too late.

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