Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Pain Rustique (Mellow Bakers: June)

Yesterday morning was a little stressful, and I wondered at first if this bread would get made as planned for that day.  Tucker, my sous chef, was not feeling well at all.  He's not been that sick for awhile and, given his age, I was quite worried.  He was stable and more comfortable by 11 o'clock though, and so I went ahead with making my bread. 

Pain Rustique is first up on the list of breads for the Mellow Bakers in June.  I was really looking forward to this bread, as it seemed so similar to ciabatta, and we had loved the ciabatta that I made for the first time, back in February.   I decided to make two-thirds of Hamelman's Pain Rustique recipe from page 111, of his book, BREAD.  It's kind of nice to have one loaf to eat over a couple days and one to freeze to enjoy later.  Also, if I only made two loaves, I was hoping that both would fit on my pizza stone to bake at the same time.

The poolish for this bread was made the night before.  Since I was only making two-thirds of the recipe I had to do some calcumalatin' and at 9 o'clock at night, my little brain is tired.  I added my yeast to the water, dispersed it abit and then added my flour that I had weighed out.  Something didn't seem right as I stirred it all together and then I realized I hadn't used the correct amount of water for two-thirds of the recipe.  I measured out the extra water, dumped it over the rest and mixed it til smooth.  I covered it with plastic wrap and it sat out on the counter over night.

After making sure Tucker was OK, I made up the final dough the next day.  When the first 25 min. of bulk fermentation was up, I looked at the wet mass of dough in the bowl and since it seemed so much like the ciabatta dough that I had worked with in February,  I decided to follow the folding and shaping instructions that went with the America's Test Kitchen ciabatta recipe.

I sprayed my dough scraper with non-stick spray and gently lifted one side of the dough in the bowl and folded it over to the center.  I rotated the bowl 90° and did the same again.  I repeated this 6 more times, for a total of 8 folds.  After 50 minutes I repeated this procedure, being very gentle as I lifted the dough with the dough scraper and folded it to the center. 

Next, I lifted the dough onto my floured mat, and cut the dough into 2 pieces with my bench scraper.  I gently pressed each dough piece into a rough rectangle with my fingertips and then, folding it like a letter, I brought each of the two shorter sides into the middle.  I carefully flipped each piece of dough over and placed them on their own floured piece of parchment paper.  I covered and left them for another 25 minutes of final fermentation while the oven preheated. 

To bake I uncovered the two pieces of dough, pressed them out gently with my fingertips again to form a rough rectangle and then spritzed each dough piece with water.  I slid each piece of parchment onto my stone and spritzed each loaf again twice with water during the first 5 minutes of baking. 

The two loaves turned out beautifully.  I was really happy with the results.  Don't know if Hamelman would have approved, but my slight change in methodology resulted in nicely shaped, textured bread.  We enjoyed ours with soup last night and tonight we're having spaghetti and meatballs to finish the loaf with.

The bread was very similar to the ciabatta I made before, just the crust was a bit chewier and crunchy.    The ciabatta I made before was done with a bit of milk and so I think the interior of that bread was a little more tender.  We loved the Pain Rustique just as much as ciabatta, and I'm sure I'll be making this again.  It's kind of relaxing working with the wetter dough in that you don't worry about a perfect shaping of the final loaf. 

Here's another picture that shows the slices a little more up close,
Tucker was feeling alot better by dinner time and even though he was begging for a teeny bite of bread, we decided it was best not to let him have a taste this time :)


  1. It looks beautiful, Melanie! Thanks for sharing your's always fun to read about different variations ~ in ingredients and methods ~ to try! =)

  2. That looks lovely Mel. I'm sorry I haven't been around much, fighting trying to tame a new computer and put everything where it should be. Glad to hear Tucker feeling better :)

  3. I didn't know Tucker was sick. Maybe the smell of the baking bread made him feel better. I am going to try making a simple bread recipe this weekend. Wish me luck. -- Ms Beauty