Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Mellow Bakers: Pain rustique (June)

Here we are with the first Mellow Bakers bread for June: pain rustique.

What?! It's only May?! I actually haven't made any of the May breads yet, but I'm making soup for dinner tomorrow, and I needed a bread to go with it. I saw pain rustique on the June list, and it's one I've been wanting to make for quite a while, so I decided to jump ahead.

The pain rustique starts with a poolish: bread flour, water, and a teeny tiny bit of yeast, mixed together and then left to ferment for 16 hours.

The next day, the poolish is mixed with the rest of the bread flour and water, and then left to autolyse for 30 minutes. Finally, the salt and the rest of the yeast are sprinkled over the top, the whole thing is kneaded, and then it's left to rise for a short time with two stretch-and-folds every 25 minutes.

I was trying to make this bread in the midst of normal life, so I made the poolish as late as possible last night, rushed home after school (luckily my school is only a few blocks away) to mix in the flour and water, rushed to pick up my kids, rushed home to add the salt and yeast and mix. Then a quick trip to the zoo, which ended up taking a lot longer than anticipated because we ran into some friends and stayed to play. When I got home, the proofing time was technically almost over, so I did two stretch-and-folds and then let the bread proof for an additional 25 minutes.

Then the dough was separated into three chunks, and placed, floured side down, on a floured couche to rise for 25 additional minutes. Finally, the loaves were flipped onto a pan, given a quick slash, and baked with steam for about 30 minutes. Because the oven was busy with hamburger buns and then french fries, I didn't have time to preheat my baking stone, so I just baked the loaves on a sheet pan, using the fake hearth baking method (an aluminum pan spritzed with water).

This bread was a cross between ciabatta and rustic bread: soft, creamy texture, fairly open crumb with no big holes, delicious with butter. Personally, I prefer both our normal ciabatta and JH's other rustic bread with whole wheat, but hubby couldn't stop raving about this one. It is definitely a tasty bread!


  1. I'm always so impressed when I read your posts about bread. It just seems like such a time commitment and a long process! Can you tell I'm not a bread-maker? That bread looks amazing. I finally bought a book about bread so maybe I'll finally get brave enough to try it some time.

  2. Those look wonderful...I wish I had your bread baking skills!

  3. There's nothing quite like a mountain of bread to warm the cockles of my heart. Great write-up, Abby, it's amazing the organisation required sometimes to get the loaf baked! :)

  4. Those loaves look really good Abby!! I like the cute, little rolls peeking out from the side. The loaves resemble ciabatta loaves. I may have to go back and try the rustic bread w/ whole wheat.

  5. I really need to get back to making some of the Bread recipes. I'm like you, it's gotten to where I prefer at least some whole grain in my breads--they're more flavorful that way.