For the Leaven
Baker's % Grams Measuring
White-Bread Flour 100 72 g. 1/2 c. + 1 tsp.
Water 125 92 g. 4 oz.
Wet Leaven 25 18 g. 1 heaping Tbsp.
1. Make the leaven: Mix the 1 heaping tablespoon of Leaven with 4 oz of warm water and stir with your hand to disperse. Add ½ c +1 teaspoon of the white-bread flour and combine well. Cover with a towel and let rest at room temperature for 12 hours or until aerated and puffed in appearance. To test for readiness, drop a tablespoon of leaven into a bowl of room-temperature water; if it floats it’s ready to use. If it doesn’t, allow more time to ferment.
For the Country Loaf
Baker's % Grams Measuring
White-Bread Flour 89 300g. 2 1/4 c.
Whole-Wheat Flour 11 34 g. 1/4 c. .
Water 85 284 g. 10 to 11 oz.
Wet Leaven 25 84 g. 3 oz..
Salt, Refined Sea 3 10 g. 1 1/4 tsp.
2. Make the dough: In a large bowl, combine 30z (1/3 cup heaping) of leaven with 10 oz of warm water and stir to disperse. (Reserve remaining leaven to make more leaven, simply repeat step 1 above.)
3. Add 2 1/4 c of white-bread flour and ¼ c whole-wheat flour to bowl and use your hands to mix until no traces of dry flour remain. The dough will be sticky and ragged. Cover bowl with a towel and let dough rest for 25 to 40 minutes at room temperature.
4. Add 1 ¼ tsp fine sea salt and the remaining 1 oz warm water. Use hands to integrate salt and water into dough thoroughly. The dough will begin to pull apart, but continue mixing; it will come back together.
5. Cover dough with a towel and transfer to a warm environment, 75 to 80 degrees ideally (like near a window in a sunny room, or inside a turned-off oven). Let dough rise for 30 minutes. Fold dough by dipping hand in water, taking hold of the underside of the dough at one quadrant and stretching it up over the rest of the dough. Repeat this action 3 more times, rotating bowl a quarter turn for each fold. Do this every half-hour for 2 1/2 hours more (3 hours total). The dough should be billowy and increase in volume 20 to 30 percent. If not, continue to let rise and fold for up to an hour more.
6. Transfer dough to a work surface and dust top with flour. Use a dough scraper to flip them over so floured sides are face down. Fold the bottom of each piece up onto itself so the flour on the surface remains entirely on the outside of the loaf; this will become the crust. Work dough into taut rounds. Place the dough rounds on a work surface, cover with a towel, and let rest 30 minutes.
7. Mix together equal parts whole-wheat flour and rice flours. Line two 10- to 12-inch bread-proofing baskets or mixing bowls with towels. Use some of the flour mixture to generously flour towels (reserve remaining mixture).
8. Dust rounds with whole-wheat flour. Use a dough scraper to flip them over onto a work surface so floured sides are facing down. Take one round, and starting at the side closest to you, pull the bottom 2 corners of the dough down toward you, then fold them up into the middle third of the dough. Repeat this action on the right and left sides, pulling the edges out and folding them in over the center. Finally, lift the top corners up and fold down over previous folds. (Imagine folding a piece of paper in on itself from all 4 sides.) Roll dough over so the folded side becomes the bottom of the loaf. Shape into a smooth, taut ball. Repeat with other round.
9. Transfer rounds, seam-side up, to prepared baskets. Cover with a towel and return dough to the 75- to 80-degree environment for 3 to 4 hours. (Or let dough rise for 10 to 12 hours in the refrigerator. Bring back to room temperature before baking.)
10. About 30 minutes before baking, place a Dutch oven or lidded cast-iron pot in the oven and heat it to 500 degrees. Dust tops of dough, still in their baskets, with whole-wheat/rice-flour mixture. Very carefully remove heated pot from oven and gently turn 1 loaf into pan seam-side down. Use a lame (you can make a lame by taking a coffee stirrer, shaving the end down slightly and feeding a double-sided razor through the end of the stirrer, the razor should have a slight bend.) or a razor blade to score the top of the bread a few times to allow for expansion, cover and transfer to oven. Reduce temperature to 450 degrees and cook for 20 minutes. Carefully remove lid (steam may release) and cook for 20 more minutes or until crust is a rich, golden brown color.
11. Transfer bread to a wire rack to cool for at least 15 minutes before slicing. The bottom of the loaf should sound hollow when tapped. Increase oven temperature to 500 degrees, clean out pot and repeat this process with the second loaf.
Rosemary and Olive
Add to the mix some chopped rosemary and pitted olives (Kalamata work great), you may want to cut back on the water a little bit because of the extra moisture in the olives.
Simply replace the whole wheat in the bread with a rye flour (a dark rye works best).
Add to the mix a small amount of mixed grain (you can use a mixed grain hot cereal/porridge mix), a little molasses and a little hot water.
For the Starter
Baker's % Grams Measuring
White-Bread Flour 50 50 g. 1/3 c.
Whole-Wheat Flour 50 50 g. 1/3 c.
Water 100 100 g. 4 to 5 oz.
1. Make the starter: Combine 1/3 cup white-bread flour and 1/3 cup whole-wheat flour. Put 5 oz of warm water (about 80 degrees) in a small jar or container and add the flour mixture. Use your fingers to mix until thoroughly combined and the mixture is the consistency of thick batter. Cover with a towel and let sit at room temperature until mixture begins to bubble and puff, 2 to 3 days.
2. When starter begins to show signs of activity, begin regular feedings. Keep the starter at room temperature, and at the same time each day discard 80 percent of the starter and feed remaining starter with equal parts warm water and white-wheat flour mix (1/3 cups grams of each is fine). When starter begins to rise and fall predictably and takes on a slightly sour smell, it’s ready; this should take about 1 week.