Whole wheat country loaf

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This was my first attempt at Michael Pollan’s recipe for a Whole Wheat Country Loaf in the appendix of his book Cooked: A Natural History of Transformation, where he learns to cook four basic categories of food and, among other things, makes a case for wild yeast-leavened bread.

This is the recipe I woke up Jim’s starter for. He captured these little yeasties from the air a while back after reading the same book. (We’ve also been using the discarded sourdough starter for pancakes, but this was their big moment).

I’m extremely pleased with the result. The texture is just like he described in the book — creamy on the inside, crisp crust. It had nice oven spring. It even has “ears” from rapid expansion in the hot, steamy pot.

The only thing I was a little disappointed in is the sour flavor, which normal in a sourdough, of course, but I think I would shorten the bulk ferment next time to see if I can make it less sour. It went almost 6 hours this time, which is much longer than the recipe calls for.

The starter is still alive, so there’s plenty of opportunity to try again.

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