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Country Loaves

Country Loaves

Country Loaves

This homemade bread goes great with a meal, and it makes great sandwich bread. You could make this a day ahead and let the dough proof overnight for better flavor and texture.

Ingredients

  • 6 cups bread flour

  • 1 1/2 tablespoons yeast

  • 1 tablespoon sea salt

  • 1 tablespoon sugar

  • Corn meal

  • 3 cups warm water

Directions

Start by mixing your warm water, yeast, sugar, and salt in a bowl. Let the yeast and water sit for 5 minutes or so to allow the yeast to start working (the sugar will also help).

Next, add in 5 cups of flour and mix until the dough begins to come together. Turn the dough out onto a work surface, and knead in as much of the remaining cup of flour as is needed. The dough should be slightly sticky, and not too dry.

Knead the dough for 15-20 minutes, then set it aside in a covered bowl to rise for about 1 hour (or until it has about doubled in size).

Once the dough has risen, divide into two equal portions (to make 2 loaves), then flatten and shape one of your portions into a rough rectangle on your work surface. You’re essentially going to be rolling the dough in on itself, lengthwise, at this point.

Start by folding the top edge to the middle of the dough (where a line would bisect it) and push it down firmly. Repeat the process for the bottom edge, then repeat the process for the top edge 2 to 3 more times. Finally, roll the top edge so that it meets the bottom edge of the dough and press it firmly to seal it. Be sure to double check your seam to make sure that it’s completely closed as well (otherwise it may separate while baking).

Once this is done, you’ll be left with a rough cylinder. Roll it out to shape it a bit, and taper the ends slightly. When you have the length and shape that you’re looking for, set the loaf on a baking sheet that has been sprinkled with corn meal, and allow it to rise for 30 minutes to 1 hour.

When your loaves are ready, dust them with flour, make several slits along the top, then bake them in a preheated oven at 450 degrees for 20-25 minutes (It’s also a good idea to spray a bit of water in your oven just as you put the loaves in).

When the loaves are done, let them cool for 30 minutes to 1 hour, then they can be reheated before serving if you like.

Dish and Photo by Adrian Rodriguez

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