Country Loaf

This loaf, like many European loaves, includes some whole grain flour for texture and flavor. But don't worry, King Arthur Unbleached Bread Flour ensures that those whole grains won't affect the bread's lovely high rise. For a lighter-colored loaf, cut the white whole wheat down to just a couple of tablespoons (or eliminate it entirely) while increasing the bread flour to 3 cups (360g).

Prep
10 mins
Bake
20 to 25 mins
Total
2 hrs 45 mins
Yield
1 large loaf
Country Loaf

Instructions

  1. To make the dough: Pour the water into a mixing bowl. Add the yeast and white whole wheat flour and let sit for several minutes until the mixture begins to bubble.  

  2. Stir in the salt and 1 cup of the bread flour and mix well. Gradually add the remaining bread flour until the dough begins to pull away from the sides of the bowl. Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured surface and knead it for 4 to 5 minutes. Let the dough rest while you clean out and grease your bowl; then knead the dough a few more minutes. The dough should be on the slack side and a little tacky, but shouldn't be sticky. When the dough is well-kneaded, place it into the prepared bowl, cover, and let rise until doubled in size, 1 1/2 to 2 hours.

  3. To use a brotform: When your dough has risen, flour your brotform heavily and sprinkle some seeds (sesame, flax, caraway, poppy...) or some rolled oats or rye flakes into the bottom. Gently deflate the dough, shape it into a ball and place it, smooth side down, into the brotform. Drape the dough with lightly greased plastic wrap and set it aside to rise for 45 minutes, or until it's crowned nicely over the rim of the brotform.

  4. If you're not using a brotform, simply round the dough into a ball and place it on a lightly greased or parchment-lined baking sheet. Let the dough rise for about 45 minutes, or until it's noticeably puffy.

  5. For dough shaped in a brotform: Have a lightly greased or parchment-lined baking sheet ready. Very gently, roll the dough from the brotform onto the baking sheet. It should slip out gracefully, without deflating. If it deflates totally (a small settling is OK), simply form it into a smooth ball, put it back in the brotform, and let it rise again (only this time not quite as high).

  6. Towards the end of the rising time, preheat the oven to 425°F.

  7. To bake the bread: Mist the loaf heavily with warm water; this will help it rise and enhance its crust. Bake the bread for 20 to 25 minutes. When it's done, remove it from the baking sheet, set it on the rack of the oven, turn the oven off, and crack the door open a couple of inches; let the bread cool completely in the oven. If you want a soft loaf, remove it from the oven, set it on a rack, and let it cool completely at room temperature.

Tips from our Bakers

  • Want to make the dough for this loaf using a bread machine? Place all of the ingredients in the order listed above into the pan of your bread machine, select manual or dough, and press start. Let the machine complete its cycle, then continue with step 3 above.

  • This crusty loaf is nonfat and thus will become stale quickly; it's best enjoyed the same day it's made. For slightly better shelf life, substitute 2 tablespoons (25g) olive oil for 2 tablespoons (28g) of the water.