Country Loaf

A Brian Lagerstrom and Tartine driven recipe – tweaked in the this six month bread-making kick I’ve been on. Now, this is the bread that I make once a week.

Country Loaf


Poolish (pre-ferment)

  • 150 g AP flour
  • 150 g lukewarm filtered water
  • Pinch of active yeast
  • 2 g sugar about a teaspoon


  • 300 g lukewarm water just under 100 degrees
  • Poolish
  • 3-4 g yeast
  • 350 g AP flour
  • 50 g rye or whole wheat flour
  • 16 g salt


  • Poolish: Add water to high sided container like quart deli. Add yeast. Then flour and sugar. Mix with spoon until there's no lumps or dry spots. Loosely cover and let sit at room temp for overnight to 24 hours.
  • In large bowl, add 300 g water, then poolish. With your fingers mix to break down the poolish and combine with water. Add yeast, then flour and salt. It helps to have everything measured out before hand (i.e. having the flours already measured and in a quart deli then just dumping it in instead of measuring as you go). Mix with a spoon for 30 seconds or so until its starting to get combined. Then with a very wet hand, squeeze the dough and turn as you go, doing so for another 30-60 seconds.
  • Loosely cover and let sit at room temp for 30 minutes.
  • 30 minutes later, is first stretch and fold. Grab under the dough, starting from the top. Pull up until you feel the tension sort of give out and its starting to fall down, then fold down to just past the center of the dough. Repeat, working your way around the dough, probably 4-6 times total. Once you get to the last one, grab the bottom part of the top right or left corners and fold all the way over. The goal is to sort of flip the dough over. Once flipped over shape it into a somewhat taught ball by curving your hand around the dough, scooping underneath and folding it underneath itself. Do this 6-8 times until its a fairly nice ball, then cover and let rest for 30 more minutes at room temp.
  • After 30 minutes, repeat the stretch and fold process and the gentle shaping. This is where you can let it rest at room temp for an hour then shape and bake, or cover and put in the fridge overnight. I honestly have been preferring to leave it overnight – the flavor seems to have a little more sourness, and it breaks up the time so I don’t have to spend 4 hours on one day making bread.
  • Whenever you decide you want to bake it, flip it out onto a lightly floured surface so its upside down. Grab the top and fold it about 2/3 down, pressing so it sticks and seals. Grab either side, sort of stretch it out, then fold one on top of the other. Finally, grab the bottom and fold a little over halfway – you want it to cover all the other pieces. Then flip it so the seam side is down and pull towards you slightly to get some tension on the dough. You can use a bench scraper to help this process. I don’t know how to describe this whole thing in writing so its a lot easier to see on the video or this one (
  • Once its shaped, flip into a baneton or a bowl with a heavily floured tea towel (like this Let rest uncovered for a total of 30-45 minutes but be sure to start preheating the oven at 500 about 20 minutes in. And don’t forget to put both top and bottom of your dutch oven in the oven as you do. I use the middle rack, but it depends on your oven and that will just take making some loaves to figure out which rack to use or if you have to change racks in the middle to prevent overcooking on the top or bottom.
  • Flip the dough into your hand and gently set in the dutch oven or directly into dutch oven. Use a knife or scissors to cut some small vents (3 or 4 small cuts with scissors have been my go-to). Spray half the dough with water 4 or 5 times. Then cover and bake for 19 minutes at 485. Uncover, move racks if necessary, put back in oven.
  • Bake for another 20-25 minutes or so, but I would start checking at 15. This part sometimes takes 20, sometimes 30. You really don't want to undercook it though. The crust should be really dark and its hard to let yourself cook it as long as it really needs the first few times.
  • Once its done, remove from dutch oven and let cook on wire rack for at least a couple hours.
  • If you make it a day early and want it for a nice dinner I'd just cut a half or quarter, and warm in the oven. The crust comes back and it gets fluffy again.