French Country Bread

Ingredients

  • ½ teaspoon active dry yeast
  • 1 cup warm water
  • 1 ½ cups bread flour
  • 2 teaspoons active dry yeast
  • 2 cups warm water
  • 1 cup whole wheat flour
  • 4 ½ cups bread flour, divided
  • 2 teaspoons salt
  • Directions

  • Step 1

    The night before baking the bread prepare this starter: In a medium sized non-metal mixing bowl dissolve 1/2 teaspoon active dry yeast in 1 cup warm water. Add 1 1/2 cup bread flour and mix well. Cover and let sit overnight at room temperature.

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  • Step 2

    The next day: In a large mixing bowl, dissolve the 2 teaspoons yeast in the 2 cups warm water. Add the starter mixture, the whole wheat flour, 3 cups bread flour and the salt; stir until well combined. Add the remaining bread flour, 1/2 cup at a time, mixing well after each addition. When the dough has pulled together, turn it out onto a lightly floured surface and knead until smooth and elastic, about 8 minutes.

  • Step 3

    Lightly oil a large bowl, place the dough in the bowl and turn to coat with oil. Cover with a damp cloth and let rise in a warm place until doubled in volume, about 1 hour.

  • Step 4

    Grease two 9×5-inch loaf pans. Deflate the dough and turn it out onto a lightly floured surface. Divide the dough into two equal pieces and form into loaves. Place the loaves into the prepared pans. Cover the loaves with a damp cloth and let rise until doubled in volume, about 45 minutes.Preheat the oven to 425 degrees F (220 degrees C).

  • Step 5

    Bake in the preheated oven for about 30 minutes or until the top is golden brown and the bottom of the loaf sounds hollow when tapped.

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