Country Wheat

This is a bread I made this weekend. I used Dan Leaders' Bread Alone book using a poolish method. The specifics were as follows:

1. Poolish was prepared from 75 grams water (2.5 oz), 75 grams white flour (1/2 C) and yeast 1/4 t (Fleischmann's active dry) and mixed like a batter and let set for 12 hours.

2. The final dough was mixed in a bread machine (for 10 minutes, use mixer of your choice) by mixing all of the resulting poolish, water (300 mL, 1 1/4 C), white flour (Pillsbury all purpose, 400 grams), wheat/rye flour (1:1 by weight, Pillsbury, 50 grams), additional yeast (1/4 t) and salt (8 grams, 1.5 t).

3. The first rise, 2 hours at 75-deg-F, punch down and rest 20 minutes, punch down again and shaped by placing into a banetton* and letting rest for 1.5 hours (while oven preheated at 450-deg-F).

4. Inverted on peel, slashed the surface and baked on clay tiles in oven (with shot of steam from a squirt gun on the walls) for 35 minutes. It could have cooked another 10 minutes, the center was a teeny bit under - this is a nearly two lb loaf.

I did the dough twice, the second time I made a baguette shape. I donated it to a friend's dinner before I got to take a picture but it was good and looked even better. I haven't used Leader's book in a while but was glad I did. I revisit old baking books to test out new flour and anything else I do differently to see how the loaf changes as my methods evolve. This one recipe (it's his most basic poolish recipe) never really seems to change. And that's why it's a good one to start with in case anyone wanted to try it. I recently saw his book for $10 used on Amazon.

*Note: A banetton is what's used to hold the final shaped dough in an inverted position while it rises prior to baking. They are available for a zillion dollars from King Arthur's flour but I use some cheap round basket from Pier 1 and line with a flour sack towel, liberally dusted with flour. the dough is placed in it and covered with the other half of the towel to rise.