Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Whole Wheat Thyme-Lee Bread

As I was making the sponge for my bread, Miss Rachel Lucia arrived into her mama's loving arms. This bread is for her mama, dad and big brother. I will have to come up with a butter to go with it - I'm thinking a savory kalamata olive butter. Votes?

Thyme-Lee Bread
based off of Rustic Italian Bread from "America's Test Kitchen's Family Baking Book," 
In honor of Abs, Rachel's beautiful mama

2 cups bread flour
1 cup warm water
1/4 tsp yeast

3-3 1/2 cups whole wheat
1 1/4 cups warm water
1/2 tsp yeast
1 tsp salt
2 T thyme

1. Day before: combine the sponge. Cover tightly and leave in a warm place at least 6 hrs, and up to 24.

2. Day of: Mix together yeast and 3 cups flour. Add water. Blend on low speed for 2 minutes. Cover, and allow to rest for 20 minutes.

3. Add sponge. Set for 8 more minutes on low speed. If after 4 minutes, dough is still sticking to sides of bowl, add remaining 1/2 cup of flour 2 T at a time. Note: dough should still be sticking to the bottom of the bowl, but should have pulled away from the sides.

4. Turn dough out onto a floured surface, and shape into a ball. Place dough in a lightly oiled bowl to rise. Cover with plastic wrap and allow to rise for 1 hr in a warm place. 

5. Fold the dough into thirds, as you would a letter, then fold in half. Allow to rise for another 1/2 hr. Repeat folding. Allow to rise for one more 1/2 hr or until doubled.

6. Prepare a baking stone or sheet pan with parchment paper. Turn out the dough onto a floured board. Press into a dimpled 10 inch square. Fold the top third down over the center, as you would a letter. Fold the bottom 1/3 up. Continue gently folding or rolling, until the dough appear to be a torpedo shape. Place the bread seam side down on your baking surface.

6. Cupping with your hands, gently pull the surface of the dough taut. Spritz with olive oil. Recover with the plastic wrap. Allow to rise until doubled, about 1-1 1/2 hrs.

7. Meanwhile, preheat the oven to 500 degrees.When dough has finished rising, cut slits in the top (Abs got vines, flowers and leaves). Spritz with water. Place bread in the oven. After 10 minutes, rotate the loaf 180 degrees and turn down the heat to 400 degrees. Continue to bake for 30-35 minutes. Remove from the oven. Allow to cool on a wire rack at least 2 hrs before serving.


  1. Your bread looks and sounds delicious! I bet Miss Rachel Lucia's family loved it! And the olive butter would make it perfect!

  2. That's what I'm thinking! We were at Chez Mike's in East Greenbush last night, and they were serving a kalamata olive butter. I was tempted to ask for the recipe.