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Monday, January 18, 2010

Mediteranean Country Style Bread

I need a few back up loaves for the freezer, so I thought I'd try a new recipe. Nancy Harmon Jenkins The New Mediterranean Diet Cookbook has a recipe for Mediterranean Country Style Bread. It is a very slow rising bread, three days, but is supposed to be delicious. You start by putting 1 t of yeast in 2 cups of very warm water, you add 2 cups of white flour and let it rise overnight.

On the next day, you add one cup of tepid water, 2 T of sea salt and 2 cups of your choice of flour. I added wheat. Leave it on the counter for 24 more hours. Another simply stunning photo.

It is not a labor intensive bread. On the third day, you add 7 cups of flour, I used a mixture of whole wheat and white, some more water. The challenging part is you end up with a massive amount of dough that must be kneaded for ten minutes. It is a bit of a workout, but the dough had a lovely feel. It takes 2 - 3 hours for it to increase in size by 2.5 times. Then I shaped it into two boules and one large loaf. They took about an hour to double. Then I prepared my oven for hearth baking because I am a creature of habit and gave them 20 mins at 500 and then lowered the temp to 350. I baked until they were 200 degrees.

The recipe made three large loaves. I gave one of them away to a friend of mine who was raised in Holland. She is unimpressed with the majority of supermarket breads and has been following my BBA challenge adventures. She thinks that this may be my finest loaf. I will definitely be making this again.

Mediterranean Country-Style Bread
2 cups very warm, almost hot water
1 t active dry yeast
9 to 11 cups unbleached all purpose white flour (I used a mixture of bread flour and whole wheat flour)
2 T sea salt
2 1/2 cup tepid water
2 cups barley, rye or whole wheat flour
2 - 3 T corn meal as needed.

Put the warm water in a large bowl and sprinkle the yeast over it. Add 2 cps of the white flour, stir to mix and cover with plastic wrap and set in cool place ( 50 - 70 degrees) for 24 hours

The next day add a cup of tepid water, the barley, rye or whole wheat flour, stir Cover at return to cool place for 24 hours.

On the third day, add the remaining 1 1/2 cups tepid water and about seven cups of flour. Continue adding flour, kneading until you have a smooth elastic dough. It was almost too much for my stand mixer and took about 7 mins.

Rinse out he bowl, I sprayed it with cooking spray, put the dough in it and cover and let rise to 2.5 times the size, until it has more than doubled. About 2 - 3 hours.

Turn it out onto floured counter and shape. I made two boules and one large sandwich loaf. Let rise in a warm place (70 degrees) until doubled, about one hour.

Put your baking stone in the cold over and preheat to 500 degrees. Slash the top of the loaves, slide onto hot stone, bake for 15 mins and turn heat down to 350 and bake for 25 - 30 mins. I baked until they were 200 degrees in the center.

This is one of my all time favorites.


  1. Sounds beguiling. Sounds exceptional. Slow rising does bring out the flavor.
    I think it might be worth cutting amounts in half.
    I like it.

  2. It had a lovely flavor. I enjoyed watching it over the three days.

  3. The loaves are lovely and slow rising method sounds yummy too. I'll check if our library has that book.