French Country Bread

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A simple European-style country bread. Just enough whole wheat to give it some flavor but not so much that it’s heavy. I use an overnight starter to give it extra flavor.


  • ½ teaspoon active dry yeast
  • 1 cup warm water
  • 1 ½ cups bread flour
  • 2 teaspoons active dry yeast
  • 2 cups warm water
  • 1 cup whole wheat flour
  • 4 ½ cups bread flour, divided
  • 2 teaspoons salt


The night before, prepare starter: Dissolve 1/2 teaspoon active dry yeast in 1 cup warm water in a medium-sized non-metal mixing bowl. Add 1 1/2 cups bread flour and mix well. Cover and let sit overnight at room temperature.

The next day: Dissolve 2 teaspoons active dry yeast in 2 cups warm water in a large bowl. Add starter mixture, whole wheat flour, 3 cups bread flour, and salt; stir until well combined. Add remaining bread flour, 1/2 cup at a time, mixing well after each addition. When dough has pulled together, turn it onto a lightly floured surface and knead until smooth and elastic, about 8 minutes.

Lightly oil a large bowl, place dough in the bowl, and turn to coat with oil. Cover with a damp cloth and let rise in a warm place until doubled in volume, about 1 hour.

Preheat the oven to 425 degrees F (220 degrees C). Grease two 9×5-inch loaf pans.

Deflate dough and turn it onto a lightly floured surface. Divide dough into 2 equal pieces and form into loaves. Place loaves into the prepared pans. Cover loaves with a damp cloth and let rise until doubled in volume, about 45 minutes.

Bake in the preheated oven until top is golden brown and bottom of loaf sounds hollow when tapped, about 30 minutes.

Preparation time: 30 mins
Cook time: 40 mins
Total time: 1 day 2 hrs 55 mins
Servings: 30 – Yield: 2 9×5-inch loaves



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