Toledo Talk


Zingerman's Farm Bread my favorite.

farm bread

the traditional loaf of the french countryside. beautiful basket weave crust and a chewy, gently sour crumb. ari and frank's favorite bread. (frank carollo is the managing partner of zingerman's bakehouse)

Imagine sitting around a French farmhouse table waiting for dinner. This would be the bread the family would serve. Like French pain au levain, it's a white-wheat mix made with a sour starter. Its crust is crisp, its flavor subtle and never tiring. The 1.5 lb loaf is pictured, but the 3 pound round loaf is my favorite. Cut it into quarters and freeze what you donít eat.

More info about Zingerman's breads:

Farm bread ingredients: unbromated unbleached wheat flour, water, organic whole wheat flour, sea salt (corn meal)

Irish brown soda bread: unbleached unbromated flour, Irish whole meal flour, Macroom oatmeal, baking soda, salt, milk, vinegar.

MediTerra Bakehouse breads. Article.

This signature farm bread requires the longest rise of any, 18 hours. The leavening is a small amount of the natural yeast "starter" called a levain. A levain is no more than a flour/water mixture providing working conditions the wild yeasts like. They get busy producing enzymes that turn starch into sugar. Good bacteria feed on this sugar and work with the yeast to produce the gases and distinctive flavor that time and the right conditions permit. The farm bread is chewy and a little sour, with a honeycomb texture like French country bread.

Carolla explains what sets artisan bread apart.

"The biggest difference is time. Any loaf can take two days to complete. We use much less yeast. And really, really cold water. That's a paradox. You think of proofing yeast in 120-degree water.

"But if at home you did nothing more than cut down the yeast, use cold water and give it time. ... It's the way bread was made long ago. Incredibly laborious."

Farm Bread Ingredients and Nutrition Info

Ingredients: unbromated unbleached wheat flour, organic whole wheat flour, water, sea salt, and organic cornmeal (I think sprinkled or dusted on the outside of the bread).

Calories 109
Protein 3.9g
Fiber 0.73g
Carbs 22g
Fat 0.32g
Cholesterol 0 mg
Sodium 298mg
Potassium 2.1mg
Calcium 6mg
Iron 1.31mg
Vitamin A 0 IntUnit
Vitamin E 0mg
Vitamin D 0 IntUnit

French country bread recipe from

Another recipe:

Yield: 1 lg. loaf or 3 baguettes

2 c. tepid water
1-1/2 tsp. active dry yeast or 1 cake fresh yeast
1/2 tsp. sugar
4-1/2 c. bread flour, plus extra flour for kneading
1-1/2 tsp. salt
3 tbsp. cornmeal

For the main dough:
Put 1/2 c. of water, yeast, and sugar into a large food processor and process enough to mix. Set aside for 10 minutes.

Add flour and salt and begin processing dough. With processor running, pour in remaining 1-1/2 c. water and process 30 seconds.

Turn the dough onto a board with additional flour and knead. After 2-3 minutes of kneading, the dough should be smooth but strong. Put the dough in a large bowl covered tightly with plastic wrap, or a plastic container with a lid, and let rise in a warm place for 3 hours.

When risen, the dough should have doubled in volume. Bring the sides of the dough to the center and knead gently to deflate and make it into a ball.

For the country French bread:
Roll the dough tightly on itself into a ball, then press and mold it into a large oval-shape loaf (~11"×6") with the seam underneath. Line a baking sheet with a nonstick mat. Sprinkle cornmeal on the mat, and place the loaf in the center of the sheet.

Let rise at room temperature for 1-1/2 to 2 hours in a proof box. It is important for bread dough to be left to rise in an area that is fairly warm, draft-free, and moist. To make a proof box, cut the top and side off a cardboard box large enough to accommodate the baking sheet holding your formed loaf. Insert the box into a large plastic garbage bag, and close the bag. Alternatively, turn a large cardboard box or plastic bin upside down over the proofing bread.

Preheat oven to 425į. Sprinkle the loaf with flour from a sieve, and, using a razor blade, make a few slashes to the top. Carefully slide the baking pad onto the hot bread stone and bake for 1 to 1-1/4 hours. During the first 10 minutes of baking, create steam by spraying water into the oven at 3-minute intervals.

When the bread is brown and hollow-sounding, remove it from the oven and let cool 1 hour before slicing.

And another recipe

Photos related to this recipe:

Sourdough Starter

How to make and care for a starter and a bread recipe.

I cared for the starter for a while, and then I neglected it, and then it morphed into another life-form and walked out of the house. I never got to try it in a recipe.

No-knead Bread

This works. It's excellent. It's not as good as Zingerman's bread, but this is better than anything bought at a store or bakery in the Toledo area. And it's simple to make at home. Good bread is one of my favorite foods, and this is recipe is a hit. Crunchy, chewy, flavorful crust. Cool, moist, spongy inside. Lots of holes indicative of the long, slow fermentation process.



Same thing at Mother Earth News

Someone else's take on Lahey's no-knead bread

Another person's take on Lahey's recipe

Lahey's October 2009 book


  • 3 cups (400g) all-purpose or bread flour. You may use white, whole wheat or a combination of the two.
  • 1/4 teaspoon (1g) instant, active, dry yeast
  • 1 1/4 teaspoons (8g) salt
  • 1 1/3 Cups (300g or 12 oz) water (I used filtered water at room temperature.)
  • extra flour for dusting
  • wheat bran for coating
  • olive oil for coating

1. In a large bowl, combine flour, yeast, and salt by mixing the dry ingredients briefly by hand.

2. Add the water to the bowl of dry ingredients, and stir by hand for 30 seconds to 1 min until blended. Dough will be shaggy and sticky.

3. Lightly coat the inside of another bowl with olive oil and transfer the dough to this bowl.

4. Cover bowl with plastic wrap. Let dough rest at least 18 hours at warm room temperature, approx. 65-72'F. (Sometimes, I let this fermentation process last 20 to 22 hours.)

5. Dough is ready when its surface is dotted with bubbles or dimples. Potmarked. The blob of dough 18+ hours earlier will have expanded and spread across the bowl and partly up the sides of the bowl.

6. Flour a work surface and place dough on it. Dough will be sticky and stringy as it pours from bowl. Taffy-like.

7. When dough is on work surface, sprinkle it with a little more flour. Pat dough gently to flatten it some. Fold dough over on itself once or twice.

8. Using just enough flour to keep dough from sticking to work surface or to your fingers, gently and quickly shape dough into a ball.

9. Generously coat a cotton towel (not terry cloth) with flour, wheat bran or cornmeal.

10. Put dough seam side down on towel and dust with more flour, wheat bran or cornmeal.

11. Cover with another cotton towel and let rise for at least 2 hours at room temperature. When it is ready, the dough will be more than double in size and will not readily spring back when poked with a finger. Poke the dough to make about a 1/4 inch depression. If the dough springs back, let it rise for another 15 minutes. The depression should mostly remain when dough is ready to be baked. The dough at this point will be floppy and pillowy.

12. At least 30 minutes before dough is ready above, heat oven to 450-500 degrees. Put a 6- to 8-quart heavy covered pot (cast iron, enamel, Pyrex or ceramic) in oven as it heats. Make sure lid is on the pot during this pre-heating process.

13. When dough is ready, carefully remove pot from oven. Slide your hand under towel and turn dough over onto the other hand, and then using both hands, drop dough into pot, seam side up. The dough will lose its shape a bit in the process, and it may look like a mess, but that is OK. Give the pan a firm shake or two to help distribute the dough evenly, but donít worry if itís not perfect. It will straighten out as it bakes.

14. Cover with lid and bake 30 minutes, then remove lid and bake another 15 to 30 minutes at same temperature, until loaf is beautifully browned. Remove the bread from the Dutch oven and let it cool on a rack for at least 1 hour before slicing. After the first 30 minutes with the lid on, the bread color will appear orangish-biege. It darkens significantly during the baking time without the lid.

Personal Experience

Experiment with the coating, the oven temperature, the length of cooking time without the lid, flour types, and flour combinations.

For the coating, I like the wheat bran. The addition of sesame seeds add a nice flavor, but maybe too much flavor. I've also tried cornmeal as a coating, but it seemed too boring.

For oven temperature: My first loaves were baked at 450. Then I baked a couple at 475. And now I'm baking at 500 degrees, 30 minutes with the lid on, and then 17 more minutes without the lid.

I've also raised the oven rack up. First, I started at the lowest level. Then I baked at the second level. And now I'm baking the bread at the third level from bottom of the stove. It's the middle level in our stove. The Dutch oven now sits a little closer to the top of the stove where on the other two settings it sat closer to the bottom of the stove. Raising the oven rack prevents the bottom of the bread from getting burnt.

I bake in a Lodge, 5 qt., cast-iron Dutch oven, which cost about $60.

Carrot Bread

October 2009 video of Jim Lahey appearing on the Martha Stewart Show.

Bread Web sites

Science of Bread


The Fresh Loaf

created by jr on Oct 30, 2006 at 12:54:47 pm
updated by jr on Apr 03, 2010 at 04:36:02 pm
    Food     Comments: 0

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