and it is happy, because we’re talking about some good, crusty white bread.
pain rustique is probably the most satisfying bread i make. it’s the perfect bread for squishing into a charred panini full of melted cheese, or to toast and eat for breakfast with butter and a fried egg and the morning paper. it’s real and rustic, the kind that you tear apart and reach across the table to dip in olive oil while laughing with friends. it’s the bread you seek out at 2 am when a storm wakes you up, and smear with nutella. its strong coffee and toast bread. it’s what you want to smell when you come home from school. it’s real and rustic, like life itself.
i also use pain rustique as pizza crust. you can shape it into loaves, or make into squares or rectangles for panini, described here. perfect, easy bread.
start the poolish night before, or first thing in the morning to bake bread for supper.
make the poolish (starter): in the bowl of a stand mixer, stir together 300g flour, 400mls of warm water, and 3g of instant yeast (about a teaspoon). Stir vigorously with a wooden spoon. cover bowl with plastic or a towel and allow to ferment overnight, or 8 hours, minimum.
for the dough: to the bowl, add 1 kg of flour, 23g of salt, and 20g yeast. pour in 600mls warm water. place in mixer with the dough hook attachment, and stir on medium-low speed until dough is smooth and elastic, about 7 minutes. remove bowl from mixer and cover with a clean towel. proof in the bowl for 1 hour.
turn dough out onto floured surface and shape into a rough square. roll out to 1 1/2″ thick, using a bench scraper or a ruler to shape the sides nice and straight. cut into 5×5 squares and dust with flour. place on a parchment-lined baking sheet and using a sharp knife, score each little pain with a 3″ cut down the middle. allow to rise for 15 minutes.
preheat oven to 450f. bake bread for 5 minutes. rotate pans and reduce heat to 350f and bake for 15 minutes longer. cool on racks.
*for the little loaf pictured, i divided the dough into 4 and shaped it into rounds, a topic which needs its own post.