Can bread be beautiful?
Yes, it absolutely can!
This is a gorgeous loaf that we made yesterday. Hearty and rustic with just the right amount of crust. So, so good…
My typical “go to” bread recipe is a honey wheat that I make about once a week.
This particular recipe, however, is one I found in an international cookbook.
It is entitled “Slavic Farmer’s Bread.”
Here’s the recipe we used, with a little extra somethin’ somethin’ added in for texture:
*2 Packs active dry yeast
*2 C warm water
*1 tsp salt
*Approximately 5 1/2-6 C bread flour
*1/3 C butter, cut into little pieces
*1/4-1/2 C wheat bran (Shhh…our secret ingredient!)
Dissolve yeast in a bowl with warm water.
In a separate large bowl, mix salt with 4 C of the bread flour and the wheat bran. Cut in butter with a pastry blender until it is a crumbly mixture. Add yeast mixture in and stir by hand or in a stand mixer until flour is nice and moist. Work in 1 more cup of flour to form a stiff dough.
Turn onto a floured surface and knead for about 10 minutes. Add a little more flour to prevent sticking as you go.
Place in a greased bowl and flip to grease the top as well. Cover and allow to rise in a warm location for about an hour to an hour and a half.
Grease a baking sheet. Punch down dough and knead a little longer. Shape into a round or oval loaf and place on the baking sheet. Cover and allow to rise for about another 45 minutes. Loaf should about double in size during this time! Preheat oven to 400 F.
Cut a 1/2″ deep cross into the top of the loaf. Brush loaf with warm water. Bake for 25 minutes at 400, then reduce to 350 F and bake about 15 more minutes. Allow to cool on a wire rack before serving.
Slice and enjoy!
Note: This makes one giant loaf of bread. When I make it again I am going to try dividing it into 2 smaller round loaves and figure out the baking times. Also, what we didn’t eat I stored in a paper bag overnight and it was just as wonderfully crusty this morning.