Saturday, 16 May 2009

Whole Grain Country Bread in Clay Baker

This whole grain country bread is baked in a clay baker. The recipe is based on whole wheat flour, but can be adapted to different grains (barley, rye, oats, spelt), as long as one-half of the mixture is wheat flour to ensure a light, airy texture. For this loaf, I’m using whole wheat flour milled from hard red winter wheat in a WonderMill Grain Mill.

This is a very easy and delicious whole wheat bread. It tastes great toasted with butter and/or jam or as a peanut butter and jelly sandwich or however you prefer. It is even better the next day.

Whole Grain Country Bread

Makes: 1 large loaf

Adapted from The History of Bread by Bernard Dupaigne.

  • 2 T active dry yeast
  • 2 cups lukewarm water
  • 5 cups whole wheat flour
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons salt
  • 1 tablespoon vegetable oil (or melted butter), plus additional
  • 2 tablespoons oats or sunflower seeds for decoration


1) In a large bowl, dissolve the yeast in 1 cup lukewarm water. Combine the flour and salt. Gradually stir into the yeast, along with the remaining water, and oil or butter. Mix thoroughly and work the dough vigorously; it will seem sticky and too wet at first, but the whole wheat flour will gradually absorb the extra moisture as the mixture is kneaded.

2) Transfer the dough to a work surface and continue kneading for 10 minutes. The dough is pretty wet so I used a dough scraper to assist

3) Roll into a ball, coat with oil, and replace in clean bowl.  Cover with plastic wrap (or a damp cloth) and let rest 2 hours at room temperature.

4) Place the dough on a floured work surface, punch it down, and knead it for a few minutes.

5) Press the dough into a rectangle. 

6) Fold the dough a third of the way down toward the middle and bring the bottom third up. Overlap the dough to form an envelope shape.

7) Pinch the seam closed and roll it a bit with the heels of your hands to even it out.

8) Place in a large greased loaf pan seam-side down. I used a glazed clay baker. 

9) Cover with damp cloth and let rise 40 to 60 minutes at room temperature, or until double in volume.

10) Preheat the oven to 350º F. 

Note: I used a clay baker in a gas oven, so I placed the baker in the cold oven and set the temperature to a low setting first, then gradually increased the temperature to 350º F so the clay baker wouldn't crack.

11) Sprinkle the dough with the oats or sunflower seeds and bake for about 30 to 40 minutes. The bottom of the bread should sound hollow when thumped lightly.

12) Let cool on a wire rack.

The finished loaf sliced and ready to eat.

I brought it over to my friend's house to test. It was really good. Just ask him.

Happy Baking!

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