Country Bread

Preparation info

  • Difficulty


  • Dough Yield: About


    loaves at 1.5 lb each

Appears in


By Jeffrey Hamelman

Published 2004

  • About

A Small Percentage of Yeast, a high Percentage of prefermented flour, and long fermentation characterize Country Bread. It keeps well due to the high level of pre-ferment, and has a good clean flavor that supports many different foods. It is an attractive bread, with its floured surface and confident scoring pattern. Ovals or rounds are the shapes of choice, although small crusty rolls or large, substantial boules can also be made.

Pre-Fermented Flour: 50%


Overall Formula

U.S. Metric Home Baker’s %
Bread Flour 20 lb 10 kg 2 lb 100 %
Water 13.6 lb 6.8 kg 1 lb, 5.8 oz 68 %
Salt .36 lb .18 kg .6 oz 1.8 %
Yeast .12 lb, fresh .06 kg, fresh .06 oz, instant dry .6%
Total Yield 34.08 lb 17.04 kg 3 lb, 6.4 oz 170.4 %


Bread Flour 10 lb 5 kg 1 lb (3⅝ cups) 100 %
Water 6 lb 3 kg 9.6 oz ( cups) 60 %
Salt .18 lb .09 kg .3 oz (½ T) 1.8 %
Yeast .05 lb, fresh .025 kg, fresh ( tsp, instant dry) .5%
Total 16.23 lb 8.115 kg 1 lb, 10 oz

Final Dough

Bread Flour 10 lb 5 kg 1 lb (3⅝ cups)
Water 7.6 lb 3.8 kg 12.2 oz ( cups)
Salt .18 lb .09 kg .3 oz (½ T)
Yeast .07 lb, fresh .035 kg, fresh .06 oz, instant dry (½ tsp)
Pre-Ferment 16.23 lb 8.115 kg 1 lb, 10 oz (all of above)
Total 34.08 lb 17.04 kg 3 lb, 6.4 oz


  1. Pre-Ferment: Disperse the yeast in the water, add the flour and salt, and mix until just smooth. At 60 percent hydration, it will be stiff and dense. Add a few drops of water if the pre-ferment seems too stiff to move. Cover the bowl with plastic and let stand for 12 to 16 hours at about 70°F. When ripe, the preferment will be domed and just beginning to recede in the center.
  2. Mixing: Add all the ingredients to the mixing bowl except the pre-ferment. In a spiral mixer, mix on first speed for 3 minutes in order to incorporate the ingredients. As the dough is coming together, add the pre-ferment in chunks. If necessary, correct the hydration by adding water or flour in small amounts. Finish mixing on second speed for about 2½ minutes. The dough should be supple and moderately loose, with moderate gluten development. Desired dough temperature: 75°F.
  3. Bulk Fermentation: 2½ hours.
  4. Folding: Fold the dough twice, once after 50 minutes of bulk fermentation and again 50 minutes later.
  5. Dividing and Shaping: Divide the dough into 1.5-pound pieces. Preshape lightly into rounds and place on a floured work surface, seams up. Cover the rounds with plastic. When the dough has relaxed sufficiently (10 to 20 minutes), shape into round or oval loaves, place them either into floured bannetons or between folds of floured baker’s linen, and cover with plastic.
  6. Final Fermentation: Approximately 1¼ to 1½ hours at 75°F.
  7. Baking: Transfer the risen loaves onto the loading conveyor or peel. Slash the desired scoring pattern with a blade. Presteam the oven, load the bread, and steam again. Bake at 450°F. Open the oven vents after the loaves show color, in order to finish the bake in a drying oven. Loaves scaled at 1.5 pounds will bake in approximately 35 minutes.