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Whole Wheat Country Bread

shared by Andrea of Kenter Canyon Farms

I love to bake bread. I delight in all aspects of this ancient craft, from grinding my own grain, to using a long- cherished wild-yeast starter, to the aroma of the baking loaves, and of course, enjoying thick, crusty wholesome slices with meals. I am so enthusiastic about this part of culinary heritage that I plan on growing heirloom grains, and I share my bread baking expertise frequently with Artisan Bread Workshops. I follow a relatively complex baking method, but I provide this simple “no knead” variation so that everyone can enjoy a fresh-baked loaf of country bread. In order to achieve a thick, chewy crust the bread is baked in a heavy cast iron or enameled Dutch oven. I use cast iron double-Dutch ovens from Loge.

Makes 1 large loaf

2 cup organic bread flour
1 cup whole wheat flour
2 ½ teaspoons sea salt 
¼ teaspoon instant dry yeast
1 ½ cups room temperature water

Stir the first 4 ingredients to blend in a large glass or ceramic bowl. Add the water and stir until just blended. (Dough will be sticky.) Cover with plastic and let stand in a warm draft-free area until dough doubles in volume, about 12 hours.

Using a rubber spatula as an aid, carefully empty the dough out onto a generously floured piece of parchment paper. Sprinkle the dough with additional flour. Using hands, fold the edges of the dough in towards the center, creating a round loaf. Turn the loaf over. Fold the parchment loosely over the dough; cover with a dishtowel. Let stand until the loaf almost doubles in volume, about 1 ½ hours.

Preheat the Dutch oven (with lid) in the oven to 475 °F. Remove the hot Dutch oven from the oven. Using the parchment as an aid, carefully turn the dough out into the center of the hot Dutch oven. Cover the Dutch oven with the lid. Bake 30 minutes. Remove the lid and continue baking the bread until browned, about 20 minutes longer. Transfer the bread to a rack. Cool bread completely before slicing and serving. (Bread can be made up to 4 days ahead. Wrap the loaf in foil and store in a bread box or other cool draft-free area.)

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