a little sunshine + maple whole grain crusty bread

by Chen


Dijon is gone. Soleil is in.

It was not until I received an email from Le Creuset introducing their new lemony yellow collection–Soleil–that I realized that the warm Dijon had become the history. Besides the selling point–the sunshine inspired shade, free shipping was available for the entire month. So, without a second thought, I got this lovely covered baking dish I spotted earlier.

For one thing, I did not have a covered baking dish that fitted my oven (in LA, of course), which was not large enough for anything bigger than 3 qt. Because of that, I missed an important part of baking–rustic bread. I have been dreaming of the chewy crust and moist interior for a long time, and today I had it.


maple whole grain crusty bread
Makes 1 petite loaf

3/4 cup lukewarm water
1 tbsp maple syrup
1/4 tsp salt
1/4 tsp active dry yeast
1 1/4 cups white whole wheat flour
1/4 cup medium grind cornmeal
more flour for the surface

In a large bowl, whisk together water, syrup, salt, and yeast. Let sit for a while until foamy. Stir in the flour and cornmeal to form a wet and sticky dough. Cover and leave it at room temperature overnight but no more than 24 hours.


When the first raise is done, put a baking dish with its lid (cast iron, stoneware, etc) in the oven and preheat the oven to 450F. Turn the dough, which is ultra soft, to a generously floured surface and form it into a ball. Cover and let it rest for another 30 minutes.


Carefully remove the baking dish from the oven and cover the bottom with cornmeal. Transfer the dough to the baking dish. Cover and bake for 20 minutes. Uncover and bake for another 20 minutes. Remove the bread from the oven and let it cool on a rack before slicing.