White bread made from stoneground flour tastes great. Add a little rye flour to it and it tastes even greater. Use fermented dough to raise the bread and it is greater still. Now, add some dried apricots and it is the greatest.
This recipe comes from Panibois, the French manufacturers of the wooden baking moulds commonly seen in France in bakeries for displaying and selling breads and cakes. Often they are used as baskets for loose rolls and pastries on the burgeoning boulangerie countertop.
The recipe makes three 500g loaves, just right for the Duc baking mould which means that the loaf can stay in the mould from final proving through baking to serving, taking any selling, hiking or freezing in its stride.
for the preferment dough
Make the fermented dough the night before and put it into the fridge, for a few hours before and keep it warm to develop ready to add to the main dough.To the water add the yeast and stir until evenly dispersed. To this add the flour and the salt and form into a dough with your fingers or a dough whisk. Give a knead for about a minute and then place the dough in a covered bowl either in the fridge if keeping until the next day, or in a warm room for about 6 hours. The dough will have risen to about double its volume when ready.
for the main dough
If you are using a dough mixer, add the water, fresh yeast, fermented dough and both flours and start to mix at a slow speed until combined. Next, add the salt and knead at a fairly slow speed for about 3 minutes and add the apricots 30 seconds from the end.
If preparing by hand, in a large bowl stir the fresh yeast into the warm water until dispersed and then add the fermented dough and flours, mixing together with a dough whisk or your hands if you want to dive in. Turn out onto your work-surface add the salt and apricot and then knead for about 5 minutes, until the dough becomes smooth and elastic.
Place the dough into a bowl, cover with a damp tea-towel and leave in a warm room for an hour and a half. Cut the dough into 3 even pieces and gently fold into a loaf shape and place each into a Duc mould. Cover these with the damp tea-towel in a warm room and leave until doubled in volume. Preheat your oven to 210°C (200°C for a fan oven) and bake for about 40 minutes, until golden.
The bread is excellent sliced with butter and cheddar and keeps well for several days.