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Country Bread, A Sourdough Version

I love a piece of good, hearty bread. Actually, I really love any kind of bread. And rice. And pasta. Ok, I just really love carbs! Today’s Tuesdays with Dorie recipe is for Country Bread. It’s supposed to be a non-sourdough version of another recipe in the book. The day I decided to make this was also a day that I needed to feed my sourdough starters, so I decided to alter the recipe a bit to include them. I know, I know. That’s kind of missing the point of the recipe, but I hate to throw away anything if I don’t have to, so here I am. Not only did I include sourdough in my bread, I also doubled the recipe because I am crazy like that. Um. I may not have done that had I realized ahead of time that each loaf was going to be over three pounds!

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The upside is that I now have a lot of bread and it is really good bread. One loaf I made plain, and the other loaf got some chocolate chips, toasted hazelnuts, and dried cherries mixed in.

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Of course, the one we decided to eat first was the one with chocolate. It was fabulous. The sourdough gave it a nice tang, but since it was all made and baked in the same day, it was not overwhelming.

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Before the final rise, the dough just about filled the nine inch bannetones that I have.

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After an hour, they were really well risen! They reminded me of that I Love Lucy episode when she makes so much bread that it started coming out of the oven when she tries to bake it. I wondered if it was over-proofed, but they turned out ok.

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They smelled heavenly while baking and when we took them out to cool, they crackled as they cooled, a sure sign of well-baked bread. Since these loaves weren’t finished until after dinner, we did not try any until the next morning.

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The texture of the bread was not as stretchy as a dough made with just white flour, but it had a pleasant wheatiness and kept well for several days. Which was good, because, for once, I made a loaf of bread that we couldn’t finish eating in a day! In fact, I took the plain loaf to a luncheon with 20 people and ended up bringing home a third of the loaf!

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Pumpernickel, Finally!

This post is over a week late for Tuesdays with Dorie, but I could never let it be said that I skipped a bread recipe! In our house, most of us like rye bread and pumpernickel bread, though we are divided as to whether the breads should have seeds or not. The color of this pumpernickel bread is enough to make me love it.

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The ingredient list is quite daunting, but everything there contributes to the unique flavor of the dough. Of course, I could not find any prune butter, so I made the prune levkar recipe that is at the end of the book. I thought I halved it, but came up with a cup at the end, so I stowed the remainder in the freezer for the next time I want pumpernickel bread or maybe danishes.

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After the prune levkar, I worked on the hot water, coffee, and chocolate mixture. Then, it was really just a matter of dumping things in the mixer bowl. I made a couple of changes. First, I used coconut oil instead of shortening, mostly because I was out of shortening. Also, I ground 2.5 tablespoons of caraway seeds and left out the ones that were whole. I am not a fan of crunching on whole caraway seeds, though I do not mind their flavor.

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The dough came together quite well. It was nice and silky and cleaned the bowl nicely. The rise times were just right, which I attribute mostly to making sure all the liquids were still warm when I started mixing because the day I made these was a super cold day with occasional flurries in the forecast.

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Instead of making two giant loaves, I made two pans of rolls, one for our dinner that night, one to freeze for Thanksgiving dinner, and two small boules that I hope will be good for sandwiches in the future.

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Everyone loved them, except for me. I had one roll just warm out of the oven, and I think the flavors had not really had time to develop yet. I bet I will like them better when we have them with turkey or with a reuben sandwich. The bread had really great texture and moisture, even though there was not much oven spring to speak of. I am dreaming of combining this with a rye bread recipe to make a swirly loaf, just like they have at delis, but that will have to wait for some other day.

Here’s the recipe link!