Whole Wheat Country Bread
A loaf of simple Whole Wheat Country Bread with a hearty crust and marvelous crumb was a comforting January treat. A warm slice of this rustic whole wheat bread with a pat of cold butter was heavenly! This delicious loaf will have you in love after your first bite.
Country Bread Recipe
Our first assignment for Tuesdays with Dorie this year was a hearty Country Bread. This large heavy loaf, with a thick crust, was from contributing baker, Joe Ortiz. I elected not to do any fancy-schmancy decorating…an outer braid with wheat stalk motif or star or grape cluster…mainly because I couldn’t visualize the process without step-by-step photos. This simple crosshatch was more my speed.
How to Make a Sponge
I baked this up on one of our snow days last week. We were warned to stay indoors due to unbelievable sub-zero wind chills. I was happy to comply. The night before I made a sponge, which was basically a mixture of yeast, white, rye, and whole wheat flours and water. This was parked in the fridge overnight to ferment…and the slow process provided an extra “kick” of sourdough flavor.
The next morning, my handy-dandy KitchenAid mixer did most of the work with a 10 minute kneading period. This dough was simple…yeast, water, flour, salt, and the yeasted sponge. With plenty of time on my hands, the second and third rises were a leisurely process.
And I learned a new term, banneton, which is a round proofing basket called for in this recipe. But never fear if you don’t own one of these specialized items. I used my colander lined with a floured linen towel…and it worked like a charm. A few razor slashes across the top of the loaf, some ice cubes tossed into the oven for some steam and a hot baking stone awaiting in the oven helped create a picture-perfect whole wheat Country Bread.
Whole Wheat Bread Recipe
Bill and Nick were chomping at the bit for their first slices…the incomparable aroma of bread baking was definitely enticing while this loaf spent an hour in the oven, and then there was the additional hour cool-down period. They both had a thick slab for dinner and made plans to add it to their breakfast menu the next morning.
To be honest, it wasn’t my favorite loaf. No sugar, no butter, no eggs…and I missed them. But as far as a country-style loaf goes…simple ingredients, lovely crumb, crusty crust…this fit the bill.
This Country Bread recipe from Joe Ortiz can be viewed here or found in the cookbook, Baking with Julia (affiliate link).
I used Red Star Yeast (affiliate link)in both the sponge and bread dough.
Photo shared on Yeastspotting.
View all the other Country Bread posts via the Tuesdays with Dorie site.
You May Also Like:
- Whole Wheat Dinner Rolls
- Classic Oatmeal Bread
- Honey Oatmeal Bread
- Japanese Milk Bread
- More Yeast Bread Recipes
A crusty whole wheat bread with a delicious nutty flavor
- 1 ½ cups water (105 to 115 degrees F) plus more to warm the mixing bowl
- 2 ½ teaspoons active dry yeast (1 full packet)
- 1 cup all-purpose unbleached flour
- 1 cup rye flour
- 1 teaspoon dry active yeast
- 1 cup water (105 to 115 degrees F)
- The sponge
- 3 ½ to 4 ½ cups unbleached, all-purpose flour
- 1 cup whole wheat flour
- 1 tablespoon coarse Kosher salt
- Put additional warm water - into the mixer’s bowl, and let it warm up the surfaces. Pour out.
Add approximately 1/2 cup of the warm water (listed for the sponge) into the bowl.
- Sprinkle the yeast over the water. Stir to mix. Allow the yeast to turn creamy, before adding the rest of the water.
- Meanwhile, in a separate bowl combine the two flours. Mix them together.
- Add the remaining water to the yeast/water. Add the combined flours mixing together with a heavy spoon. Should be like pancake batter.
- Cover the bowl. Let sponge set at room temperature for 6 to 8 hours. Or put in the refrigerator overnight. Pull it out of the refrigerator for at least one hour before using.
- Combine the 3 ½ cups of regular flour with whole wheat and salt together in a separate bowl.
- Prepare the mixer with the dough hook. Place the mixer bowl with the sponge on the machine.
- Dissolve the yeast in ½ cup warm water.
- Turn machine on low/medium speed. Pour the other ½ cup water into the sponge.
Gradually add 2 cups of the mixed flour to the sponge. Mix for about 3 minutes.
- Add the yeast mixture and beat to incorporate. Work in the remaining flour. If needed, add additional flour. The dough should clean the sides of the bowl.
Mix for about 10 minutes. The dough should be moist and satiny, but sticky.
- Oil a large bowl. Turn the dough into the bowl and cover it with plastic wrap.
Let proof at room temperature for at least 2 to 3 hours, if not overnight.
Final Rise and Bake
- Prepare a resting spot for the dough. Rub flour into the liner of a basket and set it aside.
- Turn dough on to floured work surface. Pat into a flat round with fingers and palms.
- Fold the edge in and press down with the heel of your hand. Form dough into a tight ball. Repeat this process up to four more times.
- Turn the loaf over and lay in smooth side down into the lined basket or colander.
- Let rise for 2 to 3 hours until double in size.
- About 30 minutes before baking, put a baking stone on the bottom third of the oven. Preheat to 425 F.
- Put nonstick foil or cornmeal on the baking sheet. Carefully invert loaf onto sheet - be careful not to compress it.
- Slash 3 long slashes about ½ inch into the loaf (or a crosshatch pattern).
- Mix one egg with 2 tablespoons of water. Brush over bread.
- Slide bread into the oven. Reduce heat to 400 F.
If one large loaf, bake for 60 to 70 minutes. The instant thermometer should read 200 F.
- Remove loaf from the oven. Let sit on the rack for 10 to 20 minutes. Serve and watch it be devoured.
Serving Size:2 slices
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 766Total Fat: 7gSaturated Fat: 2gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 4gCholesterol: 0mgSodium: 612mgCarbohydrates: 152gFiber: 8gSugar: 1gProtein: 21g
49 Comments on “Whole Wheat Country Bread”
I’m sorry you didn’t love it as much as other loafs but it surely looks amazing!
So pretty and delicious looking!!! I can almost smell it over here – Mmmmm.
Wow I’m impressed! I’ve had difficulty using yeast but I sure as hell want to try. That way I never have to buy bread again. And your razor slashes are perfect!
Nothing like homemade bread, and your country bread is super gorgeous, and so delicious, Lizzy!
As far as our weather here in S. Florida…cloudy and getting chilly for the rest of the week…going down to the forties tomorrow night; brrr! I can’t even begin to imagine how freezing cold you’re having there, getting more snow and freezing temps. At least by the time you get to Florida we’ll be having sunshine and pleasantly warm temps! Looking forward to see you soon! xoxo
a nice project for a cold day! looks great–I also used a colander.
Beautiful, Liz! Nothing better in the cold weather than a loaf of bread baking in the oven!
Your bread looks lovely!!
I like this simple rustic bread, a fresh slice with my favorite marmalade!!!
Maybe you would prefer served with a dish or soup?
Dear Lizzy, Delicious!! I would love to try a piece warm with butter or olive oil; so good!
Blessings dear. Catherine xo
Your loaf looks beautiful.
I too just went with a colander lined with a flour coated linen towel and it worked perfectly.
Thanks for the great post!
Wow Liz, it looks gorgeous. I love the pattern of your slashes.
I really loved its taste and sorry to read that it was not one of your favourite.
Maybe the next one?
Love the crosshatch on your loaf. I agree that there are very few things that match the smell of freshly baked bread. I toasted some slices and had them with strawberry jam.
Something about this one just didnt work for me and I ended up with a loaf of shame.
Your bread is gorgeous and I sure would love to have a slice of it toasted 🙂
There is seriously nothing better than freshly baked bread. My mouth is actually watering right now!
The things I would do for some bread and butter with jam right now!
I love making homemade bread not just for the flavor but how it makes my house smell. Unfortunately I don’t make it too often since we try to keep away from the carbs. I’ll have to add this recipe to my list though for next time when I decide to bring out the yeast!
Thanks for sharing and Happy New Year!
Lizzy , that is one hearty and gorgeous bread 😀 You’ve baked it beautifully ! Bannetone is freakin’ expensive here , the one I’ve seen cost HK $ 415 , more than US $ 50 *sigh*
This country loaf looks gorgeous just as it is – no fancy schmancy decorating needed 🙂 Love the smell of fresh bread baking in the oven and the first bite hot out of the oven. Hehe the hour needed to cool off would have been so hard for me especially since this bread looks so tasty:)
I would not have been able to keep my hands off of this loaf once it was out of the oven. I bet it smelled delicious. Having some bread, cheese and good wine – the perfect evening!
Gorgeous bread! I picked up caraway seeds and am looking for rye flour, I’m only finding 5lb bags and don’t think I need that much… The search goes on:@)
Nothing can beat up the smell of baking bread. Your loaf looks absolutely irresistible. I could eat it all with some feta cheese!
Freshly baked bread. Is there anything better? Thank you for sharing Liz!