Three weeks of sourdough dessert-like sweet breads (cinnamon rolls, hot cross buns, orange blossom rolls) was a nice sojourn, but it’s time for a good, old-fashioned, useful bread, once that can be used to sop up the last bit of soup in the bowl, or turns a ham and cheese sandwich into something special. This Italian Country Bread is the perfect solution. It uses whole wheat flour, but is still a nice, light bread. I adapted the recipe from Local Breads by Daniel Leader. It’s one of my favorite bread books, not only for the recipes themselves, but because it inspires me to adapt the recipes and come up with my own creations!
- 2 cups sourdough starter
- 1 3/4 cups water
- 2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
- 2 cups white whole wheat flour
- 1 tsp salt
In a large bowl or stand mixer bowl combine the sourdough starter and water. Add flours and salt and mix until well combined. Knead for 5 minutes if using mixer or 10 minutes by hand, or until the dough is shiny and satiny. Note: Add more flour if necessary. I personally prefer a really soft dough, but as you can see from the above photo, my dough was really too soft. It worked out fine, but the next time I make a loaf I will add more flour so it holds together better.
Place the dough in a greased bowl, cover and let ferment (rise) for 2-3 hours. Shape and place in either one large loaf pan or two regular loaf pans. Cover and let rise for another 1 1/2 hours. Bake at 375 degrees for 45 minutes or until internal temperature reaches 210 degrees. Let cool for at least 15 minutes before slicing.
This recipe made a nice, mildly sour bread. It has a good texture, dense enough for sandwiches but soft enough to enjoy by itself spread with butter.
If you are a sourdough lover too, check out these other great posts:
- Sourdough Biscuits over at one of my favorite blogs, Rural Spin
- A beautiful Mill Loaf at Bread and Bikes
- And don’t forget the great selection of bread recipes found at Yeastspotting, part of the Wild Yeast blog