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shepherd's bread

After my friend died, I really felt the need to put my hands in bread dough.    I know she is in a better place but that does not mean I am not sad.  It just quietly sneaks up on me.  The act of kneading is meditative and restful.  

Lucullian of Lucullian Delights had posted a bread recipe that I wanted to try, but using sourdough instead of yeast.  I switched up the timing on this recipe a lot because that is how my life has been working lately.  I mixed it up before the weekend away for the wedding and baked it two days after we got home.  

This is very tasty!  It definitely has the artisan type flavor but the crust does not cut my mouth.  The bread is a bit sweet and it toasts well.  A little bit of butter and honey and it makes a wonderful dessert.  The process was definitely soothing and the eating was comforting.  I cannot ask for more then that.

I did ship a loaf to my best friend.  If it gets there in good shape, maybe I will find out how the movie set liked it.

shepherd's bread

sourdough starter

3/4 cup water 

1 cup flour

2 cups water 

2 cups flour

1/2 cup sugar 

1 tablespoon salt

1/2 cup olive oil

5 1/2 to 6 cups flour

The night before you are going to make the  bread, put the starter, 1 cup flour, and 3/4 cup water in a large bowl.  Cover and let sit overnight or until bubbly.  When ready to use, take out a couple tablespoons for next time.

To the starter, add 2 cups water, 2 cups flour, and 1/2 cup sugar.  Cover and let sit in a warm place for two hours.  It will be foamy and bubbly.

To the sponge, add the salt and olvie oil.  Mix well.  Add the flour a cup at a time until you have added four cups.  The dough will still be quite soft.  If you can still mix in flour with a wooden spoon, add more at 1/2 cup at a time.  When you cannot incorporate anymore flour using a wooden spoon, turn the dough out on to a floured counter top and knead for about ten minutes or until smooth.  Kneading will depend on how much calming you need.  

At this point, I put the dough in a plastic bag and put it in the refrigerator for about 5 days.  

Pull the dough out of the frig.  Take it out of the plastic bag.  Let sit and warm for two hours.  Shape into two long loaves and let rise for another hour.

Turn the oven on to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.  Put in the bread and let bake for 1 hour.

Tasty.  Comforting.  Meditative.  A simple dessert.  I am going to have to try the Italian tradition of bread, a splash of red wine, and a sprinkle of sugar.  If I do, I will tell you how it is.

Now, fingers crossed that it gets to my best friend in one piece!

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