- Yield: 1 (9-inch) loaf
- 1½ cups unbleached all-purpose flour, plus more as needed for sprinkling
- 2 cups lukewarm water (about 80°)
- 1/3 cup four-grain cereal
- 3 tablespoons honey
- 2 teaspoons active dry yeast
- ¾ cup stone-ground whole-wheat flour
- ½ cup stone-ground rye flour
- 2 teaspoons kosher salt
How to Make It
- Line a medium bowl with a clean tea towel, and sprinkle heavily with all-purpose flour. Set aside to use later for a mold to raise the bread.
- In a large bowl, combine the water, four-grain cereal, and honey; let soak for 1 hour.
- Sprinkle the yeast over the surface of the liquid, and whisk gently until it has dissolved. Let stand for 3 minutes. Add the 11/2 cups all-purpose flour, the whole-wheat flour, rye flour, and salt. With a rubber spatula, mix together for 2 or 3 minutes by pulling the spatula through the dough mixture and flipping it to simulate a kneading motion. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap, and let rise at room temperature (75°) or until the dough has doubled in size, about 2 hours.
- Lightly sprinkle the top of the dough with all-purpose flour, and do a “baker’s turn” on the dough. This is done by first releasing the dough around the edge of the bowl. Pull the dough outward, first on the right side, extending the dough out past the rim of the bowl approximately 6 inches. Bring the stretched dough back to the center of the bowl, and lay it on top. Do the same with the left side and the top and bottom portions of dough, bringing the stretched dough back to the center each time. Then flip the dough over, and cover with plastic wrap. Let rise for another 2 hours, then do another baker’s turn. Cover and let the dough rise until it has doubled in size, about another hour.
- Transfer the dough to a floured work surface, and do one more baker’s turn. Invert the loaf so it is seam side down, and gently round to tighten the loaf. Place in the towel-lined bowl with the seam side up. Cover the top of the loaf with the extended ends of the tea towel. Let rise until the loaf feels like gelatin, about 2 hours.
- One hour before baking, preheat the oven and a Lodge 5-quart cast iron double Dutch oven to 450°. Carefully remove the preheated pot, and invert the loaf onto the shallow side of the pot. Quickly “score” a 4-inch square about 1/4 inch deep on top of the loaf, quickly cover the loaf with the larger part of the Dutch oven, and place in the oven. Bake, covered, for 30 minutes, then remove the top, and bake until the loaf is deep golden brown, another 20 minutes.
- Remove from the oven, and let the loaf rest for 1 hour on a wire rack to cool. Enjoy simply eaten with butter, prepared as a tartine, or as a sandwich loaf.