Rustic Farmer’s Bread

Rustic Farmer’s Bread - Golden Crackly Crust with Chewy Crumb, a few basic ingredients is all it takes to make this beauty. by
Rustic Farmer’s Bread – Golden Crackly Crust with Chewy Crumb, a few basic ingredients is all it takes to make this beauty.

I feel that each time I sit down to write another post, I want to start with “It was late at night. I was browsing the internet, and then I saw…_____”. So was the case with this bread. I was laying in bed ready to go to sleep, and decided to check Pinterest on my phone, when I came across this recipe for Ciabatta Bread by Brown Eyed Baker. Having tried and failed at making Ciabatta bread before, this recipe looked especially appealing since it was pretty straightforward and the pictures of the outcome looked simply stunning. Large holes, chewy crumb and golden crust made it impossible to resist wanting to make it.

Rustic Farmer’s Bread - Golden Crackly Crust with Chewy Crumb, a few basic ingredients is all it takes to make this beauty. by

From my previous experiences I knew that making Ciabatta requires high gluten flour. Gluten is what allows the dough to become stretched into a paper-thin film without ripping, it is also what gives the crumb that chewy texture and glossy appearance. But the recipe did not ask for high gluten flour like bread flour, so I used my Canadian Unbleached all-purpose flour.
So I got up, and quickly tossed the ingredients together for the sponge to proof overnight. Right there was the first trouble I had. Stirring the called amount of flour and liquid was next to impossible. Sponge usually is either regular dough consistency or runnier, but this though was impossible to even combine together. So I added 1/4 cup more water than what it called for, stirred, covered it and let it rest overnight.
In the morning, I got my dough out, added the rest of called ingredients and once more, my dough looked nothing like the pictures in the abovementioned recipe. I was afraid my mixer was going to break, it was struggling so hard. So I added 1/3 cup more water than what the recipe said. At this point the dough just needed to be knead until it was elastic (like the picture in the recipe) or 10 minutes. My stubborn dough though, wasn’t having it that day. I was able to stretch it into a thin-film (it’s called a window test, needed to check for gluten development), but it looked chunky, not smooth. I continued to knead it for another 25-30 minutes and extremely slowly, my dough got a little more smooth but not much. I gave up and just let it proof until it doubled in size. Then I followed the recipe, split my dough, folded it several times, divided it, shaped it into ciabatta loaves and let them proof. End result was not Ciabatta-bread-like, but definitely like the Rustic Bread from a Portland Bakery I buy all the time (it has only flour, water, salt, and yeast), so yay for me :)

If you enjoy chewy bread with crispy crust that this one is for you!

Rustic Farmer’s Bread

Make the Sponge:
1 cup all-purpose flour
1/8 teaspoon instant (rapid-rise) yeast
1 cup water, room temperature

Make the Dough:
2 cups all-purpose flour
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
1/2 teaspoons instant (rapid-rise) yeast
2/3-1  cup water, room temperature
1/3 cup whole or 2% milk, room temperature

Beware! The pictures below show a tripled batch. I recommend that if you go through the trouble you do the same, and freeze the bread you won’t eat right away until ready to eat.

1 day or night before baking the bread make the sponge:

Toss flour, yeast and water in a bowl of a mixer and stir together until it comes together. Cover the bowl and let sit at room temperature in a draft free place (room temperature) 8 to 24 hours.

Next day, Make the Dough:
Add flour, salt, yeast, water (start with 2/3 cup water and add 1/3 cup more if the dough is not runny) & milk to the risen sponge and fit the mixer with the paddle attachment. Combine everything on low speed, then continue mixing for a minute or two. When he dough has come together nicely, change to the hook attachment and knead the dough for about 20-30 minutes. As soon as the dough looks smooth and doesn’t stick to the sides of the mixer stop (this might take longer or shorter depending on your flour).

Rustic Farmer’s Bread - Golden Crackly Crust with Chewy Crumb, a few basic ingredients is all it takes to make this beauty. by

Cover the bowl with a clean kitchen towel or with plastic wrap and let rise for 1 to 2 hours (depends on how warm the room is) until doubled in size.

Rustic Farmer’s Bread - Golden Crackly Crust with Chewy Crumb, a few basic ingredients is all it takes to make this beauty. by

Spray your working surface with non stick spray or spread 1-2 tablespoons oil.
‘Pour’ the dough out onto working surface, then with a greased spatula fold the right side of the dough onto itself, then the left side, then side closer to your onto itself, then the side away from you onto itself. Repeat the folding 4 sides one more time. Leave the dough on the counter to rise for 30 minutes, covered with paper or cloth towel.

Rustic Farmer’s Bread - Golden Crackly Crust with Chewy Crumb, a few basic ingredients is all it takes to make this beauty. by
PinitRustic Farmer’s Bread - Golden Crackly Crust with Chewy Crumb, a few basic ingredients is all it takes to make this beauty. by

If working with only one batch, then split the dough in two (I tripled the recipe, so I had 6). Spread it out into a 10×6 rectangle, then roll it jelly roll style into a log. Press down with your fingers all over to flatten it.

Rustic Farmer’s Bread - Golden Crackly Crust with Chewy Crumb, a few basic ingredients is all it takes to make this beauty. by

About 1 hour before baking, turn oven to 450F and set the rack to the lower half of the oven. If you have a pizza stone or something similar set it on the rack and allow to preheat.
Let the dough rise for 30 minutes, covered. Sprinkle the dough with flour (optional).
Sprinkle the loaf with a spray bottle and put it in the oven on the stone.

Rustic Farmer’s Bread - Golden Crackly Crust with Chewy Crumb, a few basic ingredients is all it takes to make this beauty. by

Bake for 15 minutes, and once the top is somewhat golden, unpeel the foil and put the bread bottom side up and bake for another 10-15 minutes. Allow the bread to cool completely before cutting, about 1 hour.
This bread can be stored at room temperature, wrapped in plastic or put in a zip-lock bag, for up to 3 days, or refrigerated for up to 1 month if double wrapped in plastic and then 1 layer of foil.
To re-crisp the bread, put it in a 450 oven for 5-7 minutes.


Rustic Farmer’s Bread - Golden Crackly Crust with Chewy Crumb, a few basic ingredients is all it takes to make this beauty. by
Rustic Farmer’s Bread - Golden Crackly Crust with Chewy Crumb, a few basic ingredients is all it takes to make this beauty. by LettheBakingBeginBlog.comPinit

Bon Appetite & Happy Pinning!

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    • says

      Thanks Sue! Rustic is always best, but sometimes I still make just ol’ regular breadmaker bread when no time allows for something better))

  1. Linda D. says

    I am going to try this later today. My family (my husband), really enjoy this type do bread. Looks straight forward and easy to follow.

  2. Kim says

    Hi Marina. My hubby and I made this bread this weekend and I just have a few comments / questions. Firstly, we found that the dough was very sticky and “runny”. I tried to knead the dough using my KitchenAid mixer but after half an hour, the dough hadn’t firmed up at all. It was so sticky that it seemed to be unworkable and hence I needed to add quite a bit more flour. Could you let me know what texture the dough is supposed to have after the kneading stage? Next, we did the steps called for and then baked a loaf of bread on a baking sheet. On removing the bread from the oven after 30 mins we found that it was cooked but had no colour to it at all i.e. the crust was white and had no brown colour. Were we supposed to bake it in tinfoil? I note tinfoil in your pictures but the steps don’t say to use tinfoil and whether the tinfoil should be folded over the bread or what to do with it? Lastly, our bread was very “stodgy” and “heavy”. It tasted fairly good but it didn’t look like yours. It was more like a heavy Portuguese bread. I would love to master the art of bread making and so would appreciate your feedback. Many thanks. Kim

    • says

      Hi Kim!
      The dough is supposed to be very sticky and runny. If you look on my pictures you will see that when I pour it out of my bowl onto the working surface it almost goes flat, cuz it’s so runny. The high water to flour ratio is what gives the bread the chewy crumb (like ciabatta would have). I do want you to know though, different flour (brands) will take up different amounts of liquid and will make for different types of textures of the bread. When following the recipe myself (from the source mentioned in the text), I found that when I added the amount of water the author called for, my dough was much firmer then what hers looked like on the pictures, so I added more water. It might be the case that with your flour, or your air humidity, so in your situation you need to add either less water or more flour. Check out the original recipe and see how much water she adds, and what her dough looks like. That might help.
      At the end of the kneading cycle, the dough is extremely sticky, you definitely can’t take it out of the bowl with your hands, without getting them all stuck to the dough. That is what its supposed to be. When the mixer kneads it, it will start out sticking to the bowl a lot, but as the gluten develops, the dough will stop leaving the bowl stuck up with dough. So even though the dough is sticky, the edges of the bowl will be ‘clean’ like you can see on the picture.
      Another thing – if your yeast has been sitting in the cupboard for too long, it might not be very active anymore, thus not rising your dough enough, and giving you the ‘stodgy” & “heavy” feel to it.

      I just bought a 50 bag of Canadian unbleached all purpose flour and found it to be horrible. It makes ‘heavy’ everything. I just made doughnuts yesterday and was horrified to find that my recipe for doughnuts that I use all the time, produced gummy, heavy, and just horrible doughnuts. So if I didn’t know better I would say that the recipe is bad. But since I have been using that recipe with Canadian Bleached all purpose flour with great success for a long time, I know that it’s just this flour that I am using…
      There’s a few variables that can be affecting the outcome of the bread, so I hope you guys find what it is and are able to make this recipe into a successful loaf of bread.

    • Kim says

      Yes, I was also wondering about that. I baked the bread at 350F for half an hour and it came our white i.e. had no colour to it and so I was wondering if the tinfoil was needed to give it colour? Perhaps the baking temp is too low? The original post referred to in Marina’s post says to bake at 450F? So I’m also looking forward to clarification….

      • says

        The tinfoil really doesn’t do anything except help with cleanup, but the temperature was too low :( I baked it at 350 after posting the recipe and had the same thing, so yes, you should increase it to 450 for proper crust and color formation. I already changed it in the recipe.

  3. says

    I haven’t tried the recipe here yet, but you might be interested by this style of bread-making.
    I only bake this fresh bread for my family now (vs buying in store) and they love it. It’s so easy. I did run into the same water to flour ratio problem you did. I only use 5 cups flour to 3 cups water and spend 2 mins mixing it by hand.
    I found the best technique is to mix the yeast, salt and water then gently distribute all the flour on top of the water. Then I use my hand to swirl the flour into the water from the middle out…kinda like making pasta…if that makes any sense.
    I like that I can make smaller loaves (or big ones if i want) and I only have to do the prep once a week or so. My kiddos like a softer crust so I skip the water step, but it still turns out fabulous.

    • says

      I actually have that same recipe posted here on my website, with the original video and all :) Yes that bread is great, and if you don’t want to fuss with the dough, it’s the best there is! but, this bread is a step above that one. It produces a more chewy crumb, and the bread is more springy… so to say. You should try making this one at least once to see what I am talking about :) I usually mix 3-4 batches at once, that way I have a steady supply of great bread without having to turn my oven :)

  4. Penny says

    Working with wet dough is very challenging at first because we’ve always been told to knead and handle our dough. Wet dough is extremely fragile and takes a very light touch. If you try to handle it roughly as you would with a more traditional less wet dough, you WILL fail. Touch it as little as possible, only enough to shape it, add as little flour as necessary, put the temp up to where Marina has restated it, and you will be successful! Nothing store bought will even come close to what you’ve prepared.

    • says

      Hi Penny,
      with this recipe initially when you use the mixer or the bread maker to knead the dough, you need to really knead it and handle it until it becomes stretchy and doesn’t stick to the sides of the bowl. Once it is knead, and you’re shaping the bread before it goes in the oven, you’re right, you need to be very gentle with it, as not to disturb the air bubbles that are already in there.

  5. Katie says

    I tried making this 2 x and never could get it to rise…. I guess it just isn’t a good one for me to start with :-( I have a kitchen aid I left it on with the dough hook for an hour and it never did pull away from the bowl… Once it started to rise, then fell and started to bubble…. A Pinterest fail.

    • says

      When you say that it never pulled away from the bowl what do you mean? it isn’t supposed to completely come off the bowl in one ball, but the sides of the bowl should start to look clean where it used to stick, is this how it was? If that is how it was, then that is all you need.

      How long did you leave it to rise before it started to fall? Was your dough the consistency it shows on the picture when you were done mixing it?

      I feel like there’s something up with the ingredients you used. It might be the brand of flour or kind of flour you used that just wasn’t good, or it might be that too much yeast was used in the recipe… I need a little more details before I can start to guess what went wrong…

  6. Birdie says

    Question. Can I freeze the dough and cook later? Would I have to let it rise again? I took your advice and tripled the batch, but I don’t want to be stuck around the oven all day.

  7. Katharine says

    I wonder what speed some of these ladies had their mixers at. I had my KitchenAid set at a 4 and the dough looked exactly like you pictured it!


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