Pane Cafone (Country Man's Bread)

Pane Cafone (Country Man's Bread)

Friday, August 28, 2009

The crack cocaine of the Sourdough World

It starts off innocuously enough with a friend giving you a slice of some really wonderfully moist, sweet cake that's shaped like a loaf of bread and asks you if you would like some starter to make your own.  With a big ol innocent smile on their face, they slide a gallon zip lock bag across the table with this yellow goo inside and a sheet of instructions on how to care for your new addiction, starter.  I'm thrilled at first singing the praises of this wonderful new desert bread that I've added to my collection of starters.  What I didn't know at that time is that it would alienate me from all my friends, destroy my marriage and cause me to sell all my worldly possessions just to feed it's ever growing appetite.  Okay so maybe I exaggerated just a little but my friends are a still leary of me when they see me coming with a paper bag in my hand.

The name of this new addiction is Amish Friendship Bread.  Someone must have really ticked off the Amish at some point.  This, I think, is their revenge.

Every batch of bread produces 2 really fantastic tasting loaves and 4 starters.  One to keep for your next fix and 3 to hook your friends on.  The ultimate gift that keeps on giving.

One of the beauties of this stuff is the endless variations to the recipe.  I've made it with every kind of nut I have available in the pantry. (Present company excluded)  You can use virtually any kind of pudding mix in it, and it's almost impossible to make a bad loaf.

My only real problem with this stuff is what to do with all the extra starters it produces.  While talking to my pusher friend that first turned me on to it, I came up with a plan that I think may work.  When I made my last batch I kept one starter out on the counter and rolled up the other 3 bags and threw them in the freezer. The instructions say you should never refrigerate it but it doesn't say anything about freezing.  From what I've been told and read, freezing will not harm the little yeasties in it.  That provided a solution to the immediate problem at the time but I had to find a long term solution.  I took a look at the recipe and cut all the feeding ingredients by 1/4 for the day six feeding and the final meal before baking day.  My plan is to wait for this bag to mature and bake a couple of loaves without generating any extra starters.  Before the withdrawal symptoms get too bad I'll thaw out a frozen starter and use that until I get down to my last baggie of sourdough crack Amish Friendship Bread.  Once I reach the last bag, I'll feed it using the original quantities to start the cycle of addiction all over again.
This is how it all begins:
My latest couple of loaves:
I added pecans, nutmeg and applesauce to them.

I have this pan that I've been dying to use so instead of making 2 loaves, I just dumped it in to one pan and got artsy.  I believe this was my 1st attempt using chocolate pudding.

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