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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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