Rustic Dinner Bread

I’ve been complaining for over a year that Chris Kimball’s bread take too much time. All his bread recipes require starting the evening before, and then I need at least 4 more hours on baking day. So I can’t make them during the work week, and I can’t make them on a whim. I once had the opportunity to ask Chris Kimball directly, and his response was that I should just make non-yeasted biscuits. Come on; not even close.

I had the same problem today; when I went to the supermarket at 11AM and disliked the available bread. But because I didn’t decide to bake bread last night, none of Chris Kimball’s recipes would work. With limited options, I took the dough from the Rustic Dinner Rolls recipe, but shaped and baked the bread as a loaf. Today’s bread is perhaps the most beautiful loafs I’ve made, and I made modifications so that the crust would be soft just like my kids like it.

Used the dough for Rustic dinner rolls, but made as single loaf.


  1. I increased the bread flour from 16-1/2 to 19-oz, because I had to add a significant amount of flour each and every time I made these. True if you are using a measuring cup it is wise to add less, then adjust upwards. But weighing my ingredients, and adding so much extra seems far less precise that adding the correct amount in the first place. Plus, I end up over kneading the dough as I try to get the right consistency.

Rating: 4-star.
Cost: $.85 (about 28-oz loaf).
How much work? Low/Medium.
How big of a mess?  Low/Medium.
Start time 2:00 PM. Dinner time 6:30 PM.

Chris Kimball’s original recipe for Rustic Dinner Rolls is here, and was also featured back in Season 8 of ATK. The descriptions of how I prepared the recipe today are given below:

1-1/2 cups water (12 ounces)
1-1/2 teaspoons Active Dry Yeast
2 teaspoons honey
3-1/2 cups bread flour (18-1/2 ounces)
3 tablespoons whole wheat flour (1 ounce)
2 teaspoons table salt

  1. In a Pyrex measuring cup, heat water in microwave for 1 minute to 110-degrees. Whisk in yeast and honey, and allow to hydrate for 5 minutes. Make sure that there is no honey sticking to the bottom of the measuring cup.  (see additional notes on types of yeast)
  2. Add both types of flour to (but not salt) the bowl of a standing mixer. With the standing mixer equipped with dough hook, slowly add yeast mixture and mix on lowest setting for 3 minutes. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and let sit at room temperature 30 minutes.
  3. Remove the plastic wrap from the bowl and sprinkle salt evenly over the dough. Knead on low speed (2 on KitchenAid) for 5 minutes. Twice during mixing, stop the mixer and use a spatula to scrape dough from dough hook. After 5 minutes, increase speed to medium speed (6 on KitchenAid ) and knead for 1-1/2 more minutes. The dough should smooth and only slightly tacky.
  4. Spray a glass bowl with nonstick cooking spray, transfer dough to bowl, and cover tightly with plastic wrap. Let rise for 1 hour until it doubles in size in a warm, draft-free place. In winter, you’ll have to use your warmed, but turned off oven to help.
  5. Using a greased spatula, fold the dough over onto itself; rotate bowl quarter turn and fold again. Rotate bowl again and fold once more. Cover with plastic wrap and let rise 30 minutes.
  6. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper and sprinkle evenly with a very thin coat of flour.
  7. Repeat folding, and place on replace plastic wrap, and let dough rise until doubled in volume, about 30 minutes.
  8. Carefully remove dough from bowl and form an oblong loaf about 14″ long. Place on prepared baking sheet, spray with nonstick cooking spray and cover loosely with plastic wrap.
  9. Begin preheating oven to 500-degrees at least 30 minutes before baking, position oven racks to lowest and middle position. Bring 2 cups water to boil on the stove top.
  10. Using a serrated knife slash the loaf two or three times 1/4″ deep. Spray the top loaf with water, put in oven and pout boiling water into boiler pan and immediately close the door to trap steam.
  11. Bake for 25 minutes total. After 5 minutes, reduce oven temperature down to 375-degrees without opening the oven. After 7 more minutes (half way through total baking time) rotating the loaf’s position in the oven to ensure an evenly golden loaf.
  12. Bake for another 18 minutes, or until the internal temperature of the reaches 195-degrees.
  13. Let loaf cool on wire rack for at least 1 hour. Cutting into a hot loaf will allow steam to escape and the loaf will be too dry.

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