The making of…Swiss Farmer’s Bread

The name of this bread is a bit misleading, it was not invented by Farmers. Here’s how the story goes: the farmers had a surplus of milk and in order that this additional milk would be used instead of having to drain it down the rivers, the Swiss Bakers School Richemont invented the Farmer’s bread where part of the water used was substituted with milk. Not that this would have helped a lot, still nowadays, surplus milk is drained!

Here’s my recipe, slightly different from my Dad’s professional one:

For the sponge:
900 wheat flour
120 g rye flour
42g yeast
1dl water

For the dough add
3dl milk
2dl water
3 tbl spoons salt

No, I do not use sugar for dissolving the yeast. The pro told me, that it is useless and destroys the bacteria in the yeast.
So in a big bowl, put the flours and make a hole in the middle, dissolve the yeast in 1dl lukewarm water and pour it into the hole, cover it with a bit of flour. Let it rest until it starts frothing, at least 1hr, can as well be over night.
Then add the milk, water and salt and work it until you get a smooth dough. The Kenwood Chef is a master in doing it for me in about 10mins.
Let the dough rest, covered with a towel, until it has doubled its volume. Then form one or two round loaves. I tried two different types, a) the normal Farmer Bread shape where you cut the surface with a sharp knife in diamonds, b) the St. Galler bread shape. Ok, the latter turned out miserably, not at all the shape I was aiming for. But it is quite complicated to form that shape, ahhh, next time I will follow the step-by-step instructions in the internet.

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Sprinkle some water over the loaves, cover them and let rest for another 30 mins.
Pre-heat oven to 230c.
Put the loaves in the oven, add some water in an oven-safe jar and put it next to the loaves, this will generate some steam. After 10 mins, reduce the heat to 180c and continue baking for 30-40 mins.

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To test if the bread is baked thoroughly, knock on the bottom side of the bread, sounds hollow? Yes? It’s done!
To give the bread a nice “glow” sprinkle again some water on it right after removing it from the oven, let cool and then enjoy it the way you like it!

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