Pain Rustique

So many of you are aware of my recent obsession with making sourdough bread. I am now the proud owner of the Bourke Street Bakery cookbook so expect the obsession to pick up where it last waned.

The initial infatuation fell away when the family just wasn’t getting as into it as I was and there were issues with the level of rise I was getting from my doughs. A few years back some dear friends had given me Jeffrey Hamelman’s book Bread: A Baker’s Book of Techniques and Recipes and I decided to try some of his recipes which call for a poolish, or a starter that only requires 12-16 hours rather than weeks.

Enter centre stage the Pain Rustique. The loaf I now make for everything – loaves, free-form loaves, roasted garlic loaves, olive and rosemary loaves… endless. It is easy to make and divine to eat. DIVINE.

Oh, a tip from all the bread making aficionados – always use spring water not tap water.

Pain Rustique
From Jeffrey Hamelman, Bread: A Baker’s Book of Techniques and Recipes


  • 1 lb bread flour (3 5/8 cups)
  • 1 lb water (2 cups)
  • 1/8 tsp instant dry yeast

Final Dough

  • 1 lb bread flour (3 5/8 cups)
  • 6.1oz water (3/4 cup)
  • Poolish (2lb total)
  • 1 tbsp salt
  • 1 1/2 tsp instant dry yeast

To make the poolish

  1. Disperse the yeast in the water, add the flour and mix (by hand) until smooth. Cover with plastic and let stand for 12 to 16 hours at 70F. (I never really adhere to the room temperature guidelines, I mean, what are you going to do?? We don’t live in a humidor.)
To make the bread
  1. Combine the bread flour and water with the poolish in a mixing bowl and mix with a dough hook on the lowest speed until it comes together as a shaggy mess. Cover and let rest for 20-30 minutes.
  2. Add the yeast and salt and on the second speed mix together until the dough is fairly well developed (about 1.5-2 mins) – it should be supple and moderately loose (I take this term to mean quite wet)
  3. Bulk fermentation is 70 minutes
  4. 25 minutes into the bulk fermentation give a quick fold to the dough. This means put the dough on a very liberally floured bench. Pull a third of the dough from the left hand side into the middle and press down gently to expel some of the air. Do the same again from the right, then the top and the bottom, then return to the bowl.
  5. 25 minutes after the first fold do another one and return to the bowl.
  6. 20 minutes after the second fold turn the dough out onto a floured surface and rest for 15 minutes
  7. Gently divide the dough into the sizes you like and shape or place in bread tins
  8. Leave the dough for a final fermentation/proofing for 20 to 25 minutes.
  9. Cook in a 240C oven for about 35 minutes.  
The pain rustique with kalamata olives. There’s about 500g of pitted chopped kalamatas in for the recipe given above with a few sprigs of fresh rosemary finely chopped as well.