Rustic Country Bread Recipe -
Rustic Country Bread Recipe
  • READY IN 16+ hrs

Rustic Country Bread

Recipe by  

"A round loaf with a crisp crust--chewy, and great for sandwiches."

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Ingredients Edit and Save

Original recipe makes 1 2-pound loaf Change Servings
  • PREP

    30 mins
  • COOK

    40 mins

    16 hrs 40 mins


  1. The day before making bread, place 3/4 cup spring water, 1/4 teaspoon bread machine yeast and 1 3/4 cup bread flour into pan of a bread machine. Select dough cycle and let knead for 5 minutes. Stop machine and let rise overnight.
  2. The next day, pour starter from bread machine pan into a non-metallic container. Reserve 1/3 cup for this recipe and freeze remainder for later use.
  3. In a large bowl, mix together 1/3 cup reserved starter, 1 cup spring water, 1/2 teaspoon yeast, 2 cups bread flour, whole wheat flour and salt. Select Dough Cycle; press Start. After 10 minutes, remove dough from machine and place in a lightly oiled bowl. Cover with a damp towel and let rise until doubled, about 2 hours. Deflate dough and let rise again until doubled, about 1 hour.
  4. Turn dough out onto a lightly floured surface and form into a round loaf. Place loaf on a baking sheet that has been sprinkled with cornmeal. Cover and let rise until nearly doubled, about 40 minutes. Meanwhile, preheat oven to 400 degrees F (200 degrees C).
  5. Spray loaf with water and place in preheated oven. Spray loaf again every two minutes during the first 10 minutes of baking. Bake for 40 minutes, until bottom of loaf sounds hollow when tapped.
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Reviews More Reviews

Most Helpful Positive Review
Sep 26, 2006

With apologies to Chris, I made this by hand (no bread machine). The starter was not liquid enough to "pour" as the recipe stated; I went ahead and used all the starter and made the bread using a little more WW flour than stated. I used a pan of water in the bottom of my oven instead of spraying the loaf with water, and the bread turned out very crusty, with a chewy interior. It does need more salt, because it is a little bland. I will tinker with this recipe, because it is worth trying again. Thanks for an adventure Chris!

Most Helpful Critical Review
Jan 04, 2010

Wow. What a gigantic pain. Make sure you have nothing at all to do for 24 straight hours, also please be sure that your house is the perfect temperature for dough to rise. I followed this recipe perfectly... although I did allow a bit more time than suggested to allow the dough to rise. I was baking this bread for a bread pudding recipe. The bread turned out very solid, although the inside was perfectly soft. My bread pudding recipe calls for crust removed, so thankfully I think I'll be okay!


13 Ratings

Sep 28, 2009

I was going to write this recipe off as pretentious based on a quick scan of the ingredients- I mean spring water? In rustic bread? Then I thought about it and I realized that many people have trouble with breads because of the chlorine and flouride in their water. That said, I used filtered tap water and AP flour because that is what I had on hand. I follow the instructions and made a lovely biga and waited impatiently for 12 hours to use it. The dough came together beautifully. Without adding any additional flour it was slightly sticky, but I decided to see how it felt after the first rise. I cloaked it very lightly with flour before punching down and from that point on it was perfect. The extra rise helped the flavor develop and it baked into the most beautiful boule. I tossed 4 ice cubes into the bottom of my oven at the start of baking and the crust was chewy and crusty. I refrigerated the remaining biga and will be making another loaf tomorrow. Very nice recipe, Chris!......9/26/09 UPDATE: I just made another loaf using the reserved starter. This time I used 1 cup whole wheat, 1 cup AP flour and 1/2 cup rye. It is slightly denser, but still has a great crust and still came together almost effortlessly.

Mar 11, 2009

i dont use a bread machine because i think the fun is in the kneading and the eating and the punching down. anyway, i used regular yeast in the same amounts and followed it, replacing hand kneading with the same amount of bread machine time. the only problem with the bread is that it is missing some sort of flavor. i did add an extra half tsp of salt as per the previous reviews. and sprinkled a little on the top crust before baking. i am thinking of allowing the starter to stand for two more days and try it as a sourdough, because this recipe browns and bakes beautifully and the chewy texture and thick crust is what i pay the big bucks for in the stores.

Oct 31, 2007

I tinkered with this recipe a bit after reading the review. I added a little more salt and made two loaves with the starter. It was very tasty. Perfect crust and wonderfully chewy interior. I made it all by hand, don't have a bread maker.

Jun 02, 2008

This is one of the few breads I have found that gives the chewey texture I was looking for. Love it fresh, toasted, and used to make Panini sandwiches. I replace some of the bread flour with more whole wheat flour and a little gluten. I didn't have a bread machine at first so kneaded it all by hand. Glad to have a machine now!

Jul 20, 2011

AMAZING! I just started making Breads and this was the first one I tried that used a starter. I put it to the test! I made the starter and had it sit out for 12 hours to then have a change in plans and not make the bread that day. So, I froze it for about 4 days, let it thaw in the fridge for a day and a half. Then, I put the ingredients listed (plus another 3/4 tsp of salt) all in my bread machine with the dough setting on a delay start. So when I got home from work, the dough was ready to be formed on my pan. Also, a trick I learned to making crusty bread was that I left a pan with water in the oven through the whole process starting with the pre-heat. PERFECTO!

Sep 29, 2009

I just made this a couple days ago and was very pleased. The taste was exactly what I was looking for and the crust was crunchy and golden. Allow yourself plenty of time to make this bread. I turn my oven on for about 30 seconds before I put my dough in to rise and I also leave on the light. This is the recipe I had hoped to find for the last couple years! I will definitely be making this a lot!


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  • Calories
  • 167 kcal
  • 8%
  • Carbohydrates
  • 33.6 g
  • 11%
  • Cholesterol
  • 0 mg
  • 0%
  • Fat
  • 0.8 g
  • 1%
  • Fiber
  • 1.5 g
  • 6%
  • Protein
  • 5.7 g
  • 11%
  • Sodium
  • 50 mg
  • 2%

* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2,000 calorie diet.

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