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I love fresh bread. My family loves fresh bread. Most of the time we eat Sourdough Bread that is super easy to make and perfect for all of our bread needs including sandwiches. Occasionally, we eat the bread faster than I realize and we end up with an empty bread box. We can’t have an empty bread box in this house.
Our sourdough bread requires very little hands on time but it does need about 24 hours for rising. When we need bread quicker than that one of the recipes I use is adapted from The Old Farmer’s Almanac Everyday Cookbook.
I do consider this bread to be a ‘compromise’ food due to the use of yeast (what’s wrong with yeast? Read this summary by Wardeh from gnowfglins.com) and unbleached flour. I start the bread early in the morning so it has time to soak and help eliminate the phytics. Because this bread is no knead it doesn’t take alot of hands on time. It is not super light and fluffy like a well kneaded bread but we like it and it works great for toast, sandwiches and having alongside dinner. And I know that it is a better quality bread than buying a loaf at the store.
Country Bread Adapted from The Old Farmer’s Almanac Everyday Cookbook
1/4 cup honey or other natural sweetener
1 1/2 cups buttermilk (warmed to 105-115 degrees F)
1 cup oats or cornmeal
1 package (2 1/4 teaspoon) active dry yeast
2 teaspoons sea salt
2 egg yolks
1/3 cup coconut oil or butter (melted)
2 cups whole wheat flour
1 cup non bleached white flour
Butter two loaf pans. Mix the warmed buttermilk with honey and oats (or cornmeal) in a large bowl. Sprinkle the yeast on it and set aside for 10 minutes. Stir in the salt, egg yolks, oil and whole wheat flour. Add the white flour and mix with your well washed hands to combine. Cover with a cloth and let rise in a warm place for 30 minutes. Work the dough with your hands for a couple of minutes then cover and let rise for 2-4 hours. Divide the dough into two portions and place each into a loaf pan. Cover and let rise until the dough reaches the top (mine takes 4 to 6 hours during the winter). Put a shallow pan of boiling water on the bottom shelf of the oven. Place the bread into a COLD oven then heat the oven to 350 F. Bake for 40-45 minutes until the bread sounds hollow when tapped.
Notes: When we were living in our camp trailer before I had my sourdough going we ate the original version of this bread as our main bread. I’ve made it using the oats and the cornmeal. Both options are good but the oats seem to make a slightly moister loaf. While trying to adapt this recipe, I would have loved to use all whole wheat but the results were a mess. The bread was too dry and crumbly. Sometimes I bake the bread before it has risen to the top of the pan. It still tastes good just a little ‘shorter’ than usual.