Happy Sunday Bread Heads!
This week we are going to take a little break from the sourdough and bake one of my favorite fall breads the French Harvest Loaf. Why is it the Harvest Loaf? I have no clue, it is what this recipe was called when I learned it and it was always at this time of year when it was baked. It has a cool feature that will seem intimidating until the first time you do it. That is the wheat stalks which decorate the loaf.
One of the great things about these stalks is they are so impressive that even when you do them poorly they look great. The real masters of this technique make them look like real wheat but even your first time they will look great, trust me on this! Plus the technique is easy to learn, it just takes practice to master. So, as always, don’t despair, don’t freak out, just follow the instructions and take all the credit when you show this loaf off to your friends and family.
Since this is a French style bread it does require a starter, which means you have to start the night before. It is also a half whole wheat, half white flour bread. The thing is that the flour they use in France is not one you can get easily here in the United States. It is a medium hard wheat, instead of the hard or soft wheat that we have here. It is also milled a little different than we mill our flour here. Still there is a way to get around this. We will be mixing 3 parts all purpose flour with 1 part bread flour to approximate the French white flour. If you don’t want to do this you can just use all purpose flour, though you will not get the same level of open cell structure in your final product.
Enough talk! Let’s bake!