Rev 0.20, last revised:  12-Nov-09

After growing up with it as a child, and falling in love with it as an adult, I have been searching for the perfect, German farmers bread (Baurenbrot) for my whole sourdough baking life.  While not yet perfected, this is my current iteration of this bread so near and dear to both my roots and my heart.

Bread, especially that from the farm hearths of my grandparents time, consisted of flour, water, sourdough culture, and salt.  Bake at 400F, for 60-70 min.  Here's how I bake.
BF = Bread Flour, I recommend and use: Gold Medal "Harvest King"; but any good flour suitable for bread will do.  Rye  = Dark Rye, but medium will do as well.

3-step sponge:

In a fairly large bowl, whisk/stir/mix each of the indicated quantities of water, starter, and flour as directed, and in order.  Cover (to prevent drying) and ferment for the indicated time at a room temperature of 70F (~65F - 75F) or so.  Ferment longer if cooler, less if warmer--but don't exceed 95F!  Why 3-steps


Dry mix together the remaining flour and salt.  Add the sponge created earlier.  Mix, turning it out and using your hands as it thickens up.  Allow to sit for 20-30 minutes or so.  It takes time for the water to be absorbed by the flour.

When done, the dough should just pull off the walls of the bowl, and not stick to everything in sight.  Flour your work surface and turn the dough out.  Do 6 Stretch & Fold iterations.

Gently shape into loaf, or if desired, loaves.  Fold edges under and to center, overlapping and pinching them shut as you go.  The point being to stretch the outer surface while wrapping the excess--being pulled tight, under.  This makes a round loaf.  I prefer long loaves, as they make better sandwiches.

Transfer to a cornmeal dusted baking surface.  Cover, put into COLD OVEN and let rise.  The boule (round bread, pre-loaf) should have doubled or more in ~4-5 hours or so at ~72 (68-75)F.  If your culture is exceptionally active, it may rise in as little as 2-hours...

If you like, you can coupe your bread at this point.  Next, pour 1/2 cup boiling water into a pan or bowl at the bottom of the oven 10-15 min before baking. 
Turn ON.  Bake:  400F, for 60-70 min.
until crust is very dark brown.  Turn oven off, open door.  For a thinner crust remove immediately.  For a thicker crust let bread remain in oven 5 - 15 minutes more
(NB: Let bread cool for easier slicing)