Fresh from the oven – Rustic Loaf

At the end of last month via UKFBA Claire introduced me to a new baking group called Fresh from the oven. As I’m a keen baker, I was keen to join the group to help improve my skills. This months challenge was hosted by Brianna. She chose a Rustic Loaf recipe from from Jeffrey Hamelman’s Bread: A Baker’s Book of Techniques and Recipes. The idea behind the recipe was that it was a good, basic recipe that introduced a simple preferment, minimalist ingredients, and let us practice our shaping techniques.

I learnt all about preferment at River Cottage, though it was called the sponge dough method at RC. I’ve been keen to use the method and decided to set time to do it. It’s by no mean the quickest loaf I have ever made, but my goodness did it taste good. The addition of wholewheat also made it filling. The preferment gives a very slightly sour taste, not too unlike sourdough.

Initially the dough was very wet and too difficult to work with so had to add some more flour (this may be due to me making a dodgy conversion with the measurements from cups to g/ml). I also have to admit I didn’t let it prove for as long as the recipe said as 1) I was running out of time and 2) it was rising quite rapidly thanks to the hot, humid weather and I was worried about over proving the dough. Looking at the crumb of the dough the big air pockets are a sign that is was beginning to over prove so I caught it at about the right time.

I need to get better at making a tighter shape and have asked for some proving baskets for my birthday. What you can’t see on the photo is that in both of the loaves Hubby & I made they burst a bit on one side due to how we shaped it and supported the dough during proving. Although I was initially unsure of the recipe I’m really happy with the loaf I managed to produce and will certainly be using this method again.

The full recipe for the loaf can be found on The Fresh Loaf.

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