Prep 30 mins
Cook 14 hrs
It's not that the bread is crushed--the dough is--it takes a true beating which is what gives this bread, traditional for use in Charlotte aux Pommes a la Normande (recipe posted separately), its special texture. This dough must be started the night before and the sponge allowed to proof overnight.
- 2 tablespoons dried yeast granules (or 2 packages active dry yeast)
- 4 cups unbleached bread flour, unbleached
- 3 teaspoons salt
- Dissolve the yeast in one cup of lukewarm water in a large bowl.
- After a minute or two, add one cup of flour and mix.
- Then add a second cup and knead by hand until smooth; the dough should be dry and not stick to your hands.
- Cover the bowl with a towel and let the dough rise overnite at room temperature.
- The next day, punch the dough down and add 3/4 of a cup of lukewarm water, the salt and the remaining flour, one cup at a time, mixing all the while.
- If you are using a stand mixer, use your dough hook; otherwise knead by hand, working the dough until dry.
- Now, either knead for several more minutes in your stand mixer or place the dough on a lightly floured surface and knead for a good five minutes.
- Now, take the dough on your board and pound it heavily with a rolling to flatten it.
- Fold the dough and pound it again until flat.
- Repeat this process 7 or 8 more times.
- Now let the dough (and the cook) rest for ten minutes.
- Form the dough into a ball, place on a board or counter and cover with plastic wrap.
- Let the dough rise for two and a half hours at room temperature.
- Pre-heat the oven to 425 degrees.
- With a small, sharp knife, make five parallel cuts, approximately 1/4" deep, along the top of the loaf.
- Place the loaf on a lightly buttered cookie sheet and bake for 40 minutes or until browned and hollow sounding when knock on the bottom.
- Note: If you are planning to make this bread again in a few days, reserve a cup of dough for a starter and save it in the fridge--but don't keep it past a third day; when you are ready to make the second batch, bring the starter to room temperature, and proceed, skipping the overnight proofing.