Ingredients for the German farmers bread
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Step-by-step instructions for the German farmers bread
Step 1 Add the water and dry yeast into your mixing bowl in the morning of day 1, perhaps after you get up or before you head out to work. Stir with a fork or a whisk. Let it sit for 15 mins to activate the yeast.
Step 2 Sift the bread flour and the rye flour into the mixing bowl, then add the salt and vinegar.
Step 3 Knead the dough for 10 mins, either by hand or with your kitchen mixer, 6 mins at medium and 4 mins at high speed.
Step 4 The dough should be a bit wet and sticky when you are done kneading.
Step 5 Cover the mixing bowl with a plate. Let it sit on your kitchen counter at room temperature until the afternoon, perhaps when you return from work.
Step 6 Remove the covering plate. The dough should have roughly tripled in size after those first 8-10 hours and be a bit bubbly.
Step 7 Wet one of your hands with water. Fold the moist dough from the edge of the mixing bowl towards the center. This helps to form the dough structure. Cover the mixing bowl with the plate again. Continue to let the dough rise until shortly before you go to bed.
Step 8 Remove the covering plate again just before you go to bed. The dough should have roughly doubled in size during this second long rise.
Step 9 Wet one of your hands with water again. Fold the moist dough from the edge of the mixing bowl towards the center again. Cover the mixing bowl with the plate again. Continue to let the dough rise until you wake up the next morning.
Step 10 Cut a piece of parchment paper to be the same width as the medium-sized cast iron pot you are going to bake the bread in. Ideally you do this in the evening before going to bed, so that it is one less thing for you to think about the next morning.
Step 11 Sprinkle some bread flour on your kitchen counter and a bread baking basket in the morning of day 2. Remove the covering plate from your mixing bowl and turn it over onto your floured kitchen counter.
Step 12 Scrape any dough that is stuck in the mixing bowl and add to the still somewhat moist dough on your kitchen counter. Now the dough folding begins.
Step 13 Use a dough cutter to fold each side towards the center of the dough.
Step 14 Fold the top and the bottom of the dough over each other.
Step 15 Turn the dough over so that the seams face the kitchen counter. Get your index fingers under the dough from left and right, lift and gently drop the dough on one half. Repeat this lifting with your index fingers twice more.
Step 16 Place the triple folded dough into the floured bread baking basket.
Step 17 Cover the bread baking basket with the mixing bowl and let the dough rest for 1 hour.
Step 18 Place the cast iron pot into your oven 15 mins before that final hour of dough rest is up. Preheat your oven to 210°C / 410°F.
Step 19 Remove the mixing bowl cover from the bread baking basket once the full hour is up. Place the basket by your oven so the dough is exposed to its warmth for a few minutes.
Step 20 Use the dough cutter in the meantime to collect any leftover flour and put it back in the bag.
Step 21 Retrieve the cast iron pot from your preheated oven, using oven gloves to avoid any burns. The cast iron pot will be 210°C / 410°F hot, so be extremely careful not to touch the pot without oven gloves on! Get the piece of parchment paper you cut out last night and turn the dough from the bread baking basket onto it.
Step 22 Use a bread razor or a very sharp knife to slash a plus sign into the top of the dough ball.
Step 23 Lower the dough into the very hot cast iron pot by holding on to the edges of the parchment paper. Spray with four pumps of water.
Step 24 Cover the hot pot with the equally hot lid, wearing oven gloves, to trap the water inside of the pot.
Step 25 Bake in the preheated oven with the lid on for 35 mins.
Step 26 Remove the lid, wearing oven gloves, and bake without the lid for another 35 mins.
Step 27 Retrieve the cast iron pot from your oven, using oven gloves.
Step 28 Turn the pot over for the bread to fall out. Let the loaf cool on a wire cooling rack for 10 mins. Once cooled down, you can store the bread in the cast iron pot with the lid on for a handful of days until you have eaten all of the bread.
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