This recipe makes 2 loafs. I like to double the recipe- I use a convect oven and bake all 4 loafs at the same time in my Pampered Chef Stoneware Loaf Pans, this way I only need to bake bread once every 2 weeks. They freeze nicely.
In a small bowl, combine 3 1/2 cups Jubilee Red Fife Flour, 1 teaspoon sea salt, and 1 1/2 cups of milk plus 2 tablespoons of vinegar (I use raw apple cider vinegar).
In your stand mixer, combine another 3 1/2 cups Red Fife flour, 1/4 teaspoon yeast, and 1-1/2 cups of filtered water plus 2 tablespoons of vinegar. Mix for five minutes. Let rest for five minutes, allowing the wheat to hydrate. Mix for 1 more minute.
Cover the bowls with plastic wrap and let sit at room temperature for 18-24 hours (the longer the better). You need that seal to be tight so your dough doesn't dry out. I use my Pampered Chef Kitchen Spritzer to spray the plastic with oil so it seals
Combine all of the soaker and all of the sponge in your stand mixer. Add in 1 teaspoon sea salt, 2 tablespoons of softened butter or oil, 2 tablespoons sweetener of choice (I use organic cane sugar...I’ve read honey will make it denser), and 2 1/4 teaspoons of yeast. Knead for 6-8 minutes in your mixer, or 10-15 minutes by hand.
At this point, you may need to add a bit more flour to get the bread to the right consistency. I added about 1/4 cup of extra flour. You want the dough to be pulling cleanly off the sides of the mixer but still be sticking to the bottom of the bowl. It can take practice to learn where the ‘magic spot’ is with your dough, but just keep trying. You’ll find it. It’s really important to not add too much extra flour during this step – you want the dough to be still sticky, but at least manageable. When the dough is kneaded and to the right consistency, transfer it to a buttered bowl, cover, and let rise for about 1-1/2 hours, or until you poke it with your finger and the hole doesn’t fill it.
Divide the dough into two equal pieces. Gently shape the dough into a loaf, tucking the sides and ends under and place each loaf in a buttered bread pan (I love the Pampered Chef Stoneware Loaf Pans for this) and allow to rise for another 45 minutes-1 hour, depending on the warmth of your home.
Again, knowing when the bread is ready takes time. You don’t want to let it over-rise, or you’ll end up with bubbles and possibly a collapsed loaf or two. But don’t let it rise enough, and you’ll end up with a flat, dense loaf. The more you make it, the easier it will be for you to know exactly what to look for in your specific pans.
When the loaves have risen to your liking, place in a preheated 350 degree oven for 35-45 minutes, or until they are a dark golden and sound very hollow when tapped with your finger. I tend to error on the side of over-done, as there’s nothing worse than cutting into a freshly baked loaf that’s still doughy in the middle. Ain’t no comin’ back from that.
When the bread is finished, remove it from the oven and transfer to a wire rack until cool.
Traditional rustic bread at it's finest.