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Saturday, April 24, 2010

Thom Leonard's Country French Bread

I needed to bake the bread for the week and three of my cookbooks have gone to visit a friend. This country french bread had appealed to me when I first looked through Artisan Baking by Maggie Glezer. Almost all the recipes in Artisan Baking call to me, bake me, bake me next. Maybe it is a good thing that some of my cookbooks have disappeared?

You start by making a levain with 25grams of your fermented sourdough starter, 140 gram of water and 140 grams of bread flour. This is left to ferment overnight on the counter. We should all know by know that I love having things bubbling away on my counter.

The next day, a mixture of 350 grams whole wheat flour, 750 grams bread flour, 30 grams rye flour are mixed together and then added to the levain and water.

Glezer uses a coarsely ground whole wheat flour that you can order in 50 pound bags from some place in Colorado. I wonder what my husband would say if I start ordering 50 pound bags of flour?

This is mixed for 10 minutes and then one Tablespoon with 1.5 t salt is added and mixed for 5 more mins until you make a soft, sticky and extensible dough. Let the dough rest for 10 minutes

The dough is folded after 30, 60 and 90 minutes and left to ferment for 90 more minutes.

So, this recipe actually makes about a four pound loaf. At least that is what the shaping called for, one gigantic loaf.

After three hours, I divided into two, let it rest on the counter and then shaped two boules which were allowed to ferment for four hours. I used my new brotform and my colander covered with a floured linen clothe. After four hours, turn the loaves out and slash them. One loaf I slashed, one I did not.

This is an all day, slow one hundred percent sourdough bread. There is no frantic rushing around the kitchen with this bread. This is a delicious loaf of bread, well worth the effort. The sourdough flavor was delicious and I was surprised how much you could taste the rye flour.

When I run out of recipes whispering to me, I will make this one again. But, before I do, I am going to send this recipe to yeastspotting.


  1. Be still my heart. That is a gorgeous loaf of bread.

  2. Great minds, bake alike! What a coincidence!

    But, of course, you did not butcher your loaf as I did mine... :-)

    Gorgeous - if mine had not stuck to the cloth, I think the shape would have been similar, instead of the flying saucer I got... still tasty, though.

    Amazing bread, isn't it?

  3. That is one gorgeous loaf of bread Anne Marie!

  4. Hehehe, and I thought I'm the only one "hearing" whispers from cookbooks.

    That's a beautiful loaf, wonderful crust color.

    A week ago I was going to borrow this book from the library but I already have half of the library's baking books on my kitchen counter. I just returned some and will definitely reserve it.

  5. I thought that it was similar to Hamelman's rustic bread, but with the sourdough tang. I don't know what I would have done with a four pounder though?

    Oggi, I really enjoy her writing, the storytelling is beautiful.

  6. He probably say something very like my husband said when I started ordering flour from King Arthur and filling over 50% of the freezer with it ... Does this really make sense?
    Gorgeous what a banneton will do isn't it!!

  7. Wow, nice looking bread. I'm just starting to make a sourdough starter myself. Breads like this one are a great inspiration. Thanks.

  8. Great looking loaf!

  9. That is one beautiful loaf!