This is a simple, slightly sweet bread that bakes up with a crispy, not hard crust, full of cracks and crags. The bread is studded with tart dried cherries and toasted pecans. I like the bread sliced and toasted, plain, for breakfast, but you could slather it with cream cheese to good effect, if you like. The bread is fairly hearty with white whole-wheat flour included, but still light in overall texture. All-in-all, it's one of my favorite breads.
Cherry-Pecan Sourdough Bread -- Makes 1 Loaf
1 cup of starter
1/4 cup of canola oil
1/4 cup of milk
1/3 cup of sugar
1/3 cup of dark brown sugar
3/4 cup of white whole-wheat flour
Mix all of the ingredients listed above in a large bowl and let them sit for at least an hour, preferably about 6 hours. When you're ready, add:
1 cup of all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon of salt
1/2 cup of chopped, toasted pecans
1/4 cup of dried cherries
Stir, then knead in the flour, salt, pecans, and cherries. Knead the dough for about five minutes. Form the dough into a log and place it in a greased 9 x 5-inch loaf pan. Spritz the top of the dough with oil or non-stick cooking spray and cover the pan loosely with a bit of plastic wrap. Let the dough rise for an hour or two or until it just barely reaches the top of the pan. Heat the oven to 375 degrees an bake the bread for 35-45 minutes or until a deep golden brown. Let the bread cool completely before slicing it. Really, let it cool. Otherwise the bread will be gummy on the inside as well as hard to cut. After the bread has cooled, slice it and toast it, if you like. Yumm!