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Dave the Cook

Modernist Bread: Direct Country-Style Bread (MB Contest Topic #2)

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Modernist Bread is out now, but maybe you haven't taken the plunge. Here's your chance to win your own copy, courtesy of the eGullet Society for Culinary Arts & LettersThe Cooking Lab has provided us with a couple of other prizes that will go to a second and third winner: second place will win an autographed poster and calendar, and third place will receive an autographed poster. They are also providing an autographed bookplate for the first place winner's copy of Modernist Bread. The rules are simple: we are going to post recipes from the book that the team at The Cooking Lab has graciously provided for this purpose. To enter into the contest, you need to bake one or more of these recipes and post about them in the official contest topics by the end of November 2017. Winners will be drawn at random from those posting pictures and descriptions of their completed loaves. Complete rules and other details can be found here.


For part two, we're featuring another cornerstone recipe from the book: Direct Country-Style Bread. The only leavener here is instant yeast, so production time is considerably shortened. The relative lack of flavor compared to long-proofed doughs is offset by the use of whole grains. Courtesy of The Cooking Lab, here's that recipe (extracted from the book and reformatted for purposes of this contest):


Direct Country-style Bread for eGullet_Page_1.jpg

Direct Country-style Bread for eGullet_Page_2.jpg

Direct Country-style Bread for eGullet_Page_3.jpg

Direct Country-style Bread for eGullet_Page_4.jpg

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Yummy Bread - similar to what we called our "Goldilocks" bread from Artisan bread in 5 mins a day.


I planned a test run for this loaf - since I wanted to make it for T-Day.  It requires a few special ingredients, namley the diastatic malt powder which I ordered from amazon earlier this week and ascorbic acid which our local co-op had and my wife picked some up for some other reason.


I'll put a full how I made this in the baking with thread - but this bread is a quite a bit more dense then the french lean dough.  I find I can't eat as many pieces at once :)


Here it is coming out of the oven earlier today.



We had this with our lunch - vodka sauce w/ penne.  Very nice to use bread to clean up the sauce



I'll be making this again - though likely switching versions once Mr Stinky is mature...


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That looks great!


For those not up on the nomenclature, it's worth pointing out that ascorbic acid is the same thing as vitamin C. If you're having trouble finding it under the first name, just buy vitamin C tablets and crush them into powder (2-334)

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This dough had me worried at a few different points: my scale only goes to .5g of accuracy, so there was a decent margin of error on the ascorbic acid, and I had some pretty wet, sticky doughs for a while there, that didn't seem terribly intent on maintaining much structure, forming "surface tension" / boule skins, etc; maybe I didn't knead / develop the gluten as much as I should've. And my first boule didn't get quite as much rise as I would've liked. But the second—with an extra 45 minutes of proofing—seemed to develop a little better in the oven. (Dutch oven for both, FWIW.)


That said, the would-be lesser of the two disappeared plenty quick at friendsgiving last night, so I'm not losing any sleep over it. :)


I did have a question (probably more than one, but there's only one I can remember at the moment): loading temperature? Is that just for brick / wood-fired ovens? Or is that something that applies to the average home range, too? (I'm on a humdrum electric range.)




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6 hours ago, thepelkus said:

I did have a question (probably more than one, but there's only one I can remember at the moment): loading temperature? Is that just for brick / wood-fired ovens? Or is that something that applies to the average home range, too? (I'm on a humdrum electric range.)

Nice looking loaves! They want you to preheat your oven to the loading temperature, then turn it down to the baking temperature after you put the bread in.

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Last night's loaf is nice - but the dough that spent the night in the fridge is clearly the star!








CSO preheated for the stone - then bread function 450 for 35 min 

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3 hours ago, Kerry Beal said:



CSO preheated for the stone - then bread function 450 for 35 min 


No over browning on the top?  Did you use foil?


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6 hours ago, JoNorvelleWalker said:


No over browning on the top?  Did you use foil?


Nope - not this time.

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35 minutes ago, Chris Hennes said:

@Eric Srikandan -- what sort of oven are you using? Did you proof free-form, or in a basket or bowl? 

Hi Chris,


Nothing special done at all. Dough was proofed free-form on a baking sheet. The cast iron pot was pre-heated during the loading temperature warm up (250c) and the oven is a simple Samsung fan oven run at convection (no fan) at 230c. Lid on for 30 mins then 10 mins lid off.


Hotter temps seem to burn the top of the bread slightly - and I'll admit to not having calibrated the oven.

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Followed this recipe exactly---except for the final proof!  Instead of 2-2 1/2 hours on counter at 70F it going to end up being 2-3 hours in fridge and 1-2 hours on counter. Hopefully, it will still pass the finger test. 

Will post final loaves when their done.



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Finished loaves. Crumb shot tomorrow (when they’re all cooled). Final proof modified due to my schedule: 4 hours in fridge, about 1 3/4 hours on counter for loaf one (background) and 2  1/2 hours on counter for loaf 2.



Edited by Niko (log)
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This is my first time ever making bread with yeast.  I also had the issue of scale accuracy <1g so I went with volume using the scale as a sanity check for those ingredients.  Proofed at ~75-80degrees for an hour and 10 minutes.   I accidentally did the 30 minutes covered at 450f and finished uncovered at 470f but the bottom seems slightly burnt.  Second loaf came out questionable as I only have one dutch oven and did it in my cast iron pan with a wok cover for a lid.  I think it will taste fine it just didn't end up with as nice as an oven spring as this one in addition to botching the shape a bit.


I like the taste, but I can't lie it feels like something is missing without natural yeast.  The whole grains give it a nice flavour but I like a nice super sour bread.  Dead nuts simple recipe though and I can't wait to get my hands on the full book.  Fingers crossed!


My bread journey is just starting. :)




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56 minutes ago, repiv said:

I like the taste, but I can't lie it feels like something is missing without natural yeast.

I agree, or at least without a preferment. I think it's good that the book includes a few recipes for direct loaves, but it's no surprise that the vast majority of non-enriched loaves involve either preferments or levains (or both!).

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