Nick Malgieri
Nick Malgieri

San Francisco-Zurich Bread

No, the bread doesn’t travel but it certainly does have a foot in the bead culture of each of the two sister cities.  In Zurich it’s common to find bread that’s made with semi-white flour that hasn’t had all the bran removed.  In San Francisco, rustic bread of this type is also popular.  For this recipe, I’ve coarsened the white flour with a little each of whole what and rye for extra flavor. 

After the dough has risen and had one turn, you may refrigerate it until the following day, or just continue with the process.  None of the steps is particularly time consuming but if you don’t refrigerate the bread, you’ll need to be around for the whole process.

See the BREAD videos on this website for a demonstration of turning the dough and of shaping the loaf.

Makes one 9-inch loaf

1 1/4 cups/275 grams room temperature tap water, about 75°F

2 1/4 teaspoons/7 grams fine granulated active dry or instant yeast

2 1/2 cups/350 grams unbleached bread flour (spoon flour into dry-measure cup and level off)

1/4 cup/30 grams whole wheat flour

1/4 cup/40 grams dark rye flour

1 1/2 teaspoons/10 grams fine sea salt

Olive or vegetable oil for the bowl

One heavy cookie sheet or pizza pan dusted with cornmeal, plus a spray bottle filled with warm water

  1. Pour the water into the bowl of an electric mixer and whisk in the yeast. Wait 30 seconds and whisk again.  Stir the flours into the yeast and water mixture a little at a time until you’ve used all the flour. Make sure all the flour is mixed into the liquid and there isn’t any clinging to the side of the bowl.
  2. Place the bowl on the mixer and attach the dough hook. Mix on lowest speed until the dough comes together around the dough hook, 1 to 2 minutes – the dough will be soft.  Stop the mixer and pull the dough away from the hook; let the dough rest for 15 minutes.
  3. Increase the mixer speed to low/medium, sprinkle in the salt, and mix until the dough is smoother and more elastic, 2 to 3 minutes longer.  Scrape the dough into an oiled bowl and turn it over so that the top is oiled. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and let the dough ferment until it starts to puff, about 30 minutes.
  4. Scrape the dough to a floured work surface, flour your hands, and pull the dough into a rough rectangle. Give the dough 2 turns (see the end of the recipe).  Replace in the bowl, cover, and let the dough ferment until it has fully doubled in bulk, about 30 additional minutes.  If you like, cover the bowl and refrigerate the dough until the next day.  Bring the dough to room temperature before continuing with the next step.
  5. To shape the dough into a loaf, use a flexible plastic scraper to slide it from the bowl, right side up, to a floured work surface; try not to deflate the dough. Round the loaf by pushing against the bottom of the dough all around with the sides of your hands held palms upward. The dough will quickly form an even sphere.
  6. Place the dough on the prepared pan and cover it with a flat-weave towel or piece of sprayed or oiled plastic wrap. Let the dough rest until it starts to puff again, about 30 minutes.
  7. As soon as you cover the loaf, set a rack in the middle level of the oven and preheat to 450˚F.
  8. Once the dough is proofed to about 50% larger than its original size, flour the palms of your hands and gently press to flatten it to about 1 to 1 1/2 inches thick.  Use an X-Acto knife or single-edge razor blade to cut a 1/8-inch deep slash across the diameter of the loaf, then generously spray it with water using the spray bottle. Place the pan in the oven.
  9. Wait 5 minutes, then open the oven and spray the loaf again, then reduce the oven temperature to 425˚F.  Bake the loaf until it is well risen and deep golden and the internal temperature reads 200°F on an instant read thermometer, 20 to 30 minutes.  Cool the loaf on a rack.

TURNING THE DOUGH: Generously flour the work surface; scrape the dough onto it. Flour your hands and gently flatten the dough to a disk. Fold the two sides in to meet at the middle, then roll the top toward you all the way to the end, jelly-roll style. Invert, flatten, and repeat. Place the dough back in the bowl seam side down and cover.