Sourdough Bread

Sourdough is one of the easiest, foolproof bread recipes I have ever made.  It is rewarding in more ways than one.  Of course your house smells delicious when you bake it, but that isn’t the best part.  Sourdough requires a fermented starter and once people find out you have one they want you to share.  Starter is easy to make but it seems more friendly and personal to have one started by someone you care about.  I know bread machines have taken over manual kneading in many households….but not mine.  I enjoy kneading the dough.  It affords me time to think about the special people in my life who have shared the art of bread making with me.  My childhood neighbor who taught me to make and knead bread almost thirty years ago, MeMaw who gave me my first starter and sourdough recipe.  A precious young friend who spent a morning with me learning to make bread.  Nope, I wouldn’t trade the convenience of a machine for the special time of reflection.

bread

Bread Ingredients:
1 Cup of Starter (room temp)
1/2 Cup Vegetable Oil
1/2 Cup Sugar
1 Tablespoon Salt
1 Lightly Beaten Egg
1- 1/4 Warm Water
5 to 6 Cups Bread Flour (plus more for kneading)

*This recipe does not require additional yeast, but I have found if you add a package of active yeast it will produce fluffier bread.  Plus it accelerates the rise times, patience isn’t my best feature.

In a large stoneware bowl – with a wooden spoon stir together starter, sugar, warm water (*and yeast if you opt to use it, let sit for five minutes to dissolve and “proof” the yeast).  Stir in oil, salt, egg and flour-one cup at a time, until dough pulls away from sides of bowl. Turn out on floured surface – knead 8 minutes.

Place dough in oiled bowl, turning to make sure top of dough is well oiled….otherwise it will dry out and crack as it rises, cover loosely with damp towel. Set in warm draft free location to rise 10-12 hours, until doubled in bulk. (I use the closet our water heater is in)

Punch down and turn out on lightly floured surface, knead to remove large air bubbles, divide in half and knead into oval loafs. Place in oiled bread pans, cover loosely with damp towel and put back in warm draft free location to rise another 10-12 hours, until doubled in bulk.

Bake at 350 for 30 minutes, bread is done when tapping the top of a loaf gives a hollow sound.

*I have substituted 2 cups of rye flour for 2 cups of the white and added 2 teaspoons of caraway seeds to make some pretty awesome sourdough RYE

*You can also substitute 2 cups whole wheat flour for two cups of the white for a really good wheat bread

To make Starter the first time:
1/2 Cup Sugar
1 Cup Warm Water
1 Package Active Dry Yeast (2-1/4 teaspoons)
3 Tablespoons Potato Flakes
Mix ingredients and let sit on counter for 48 hours, feed starter (see below)
Let sit another 8 hours, make bread or discard 1 Cup of Starter. Store the remaining starter in the fridge.

Starter needs to breathe so you will want to cover it but allow air flow. I use a quart canning jar with air holes punched in the top, somewhat similar to the get up we used to put lighting bugs in when we were kids. 🙂

To feed Starter:
1 Cup Warm Water
3 Tablespoons Sugar
3 Tablespoons Potato Flakes
Leave on counter 8-12 hours

Your Starter will need to be fed every 5-7 days, if you will not be making bread discard (or give away) 1 Cup of starter

Check out this great post for kneading technique.

http://down—to—earth.blogspot.com/2007/06/bread-making-for-beginners.html

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2 comments on “Sourdough Bread

  1. Tanya says:

    I made this but the middle came out a little gooey. The outside was done. What did I do wrong?

    • Probably just needed a few more minutes cooking time. It happens sometimes with me. Different variables factor in, humidity, rise time and temperature. I usually have good results with tapping the loaf and listening for the hollow sound.

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