By Lisa, Friday, August 17, 2018
As promised I am going to tell you step by step how to make sourdough bread. This is kind of a longy so grab a cup of coffee or a glass of wine or whatever your drink of choice might be.
Now the first thing I have to tell you is that you must have a starter. I know you might be thinking what the crap is that?
The starter is basically the yeasty part of your sourdough bread. It actually takes two days to make bread this way (once you have your starter) but I think it is totally worth it and somehow both soothing and satisfying to go through the process. Also each cup of starter makes three loaves of bread so you can freeze some or share, what you don’t eat immediately, with your friends.
The longer process of making your bread this way causes bacterial actions on the starch and protein in the dough. This increases the length of time your bread will be good to eat and it will give it a better flavor.
Who starts the starter or the mother bread? How do you get this starter? There are two ways:
1. To make a bread starter a baker begins with a mixture of flour and warm water that is set out in the open air to collect yeast. This process can take several times before a yeast actually appears. You would then take a cup of bread flour with one cup of hot, but not boiling, water, stir it and put it in a warm place and cover it with a damp towel. This process has to be done every 24 hours. After each 24 hour period the mixture is fed and a cup of the starter is thrown out and the process starts over. Once you have the starter going you don’t have to continue this step you just continue to feed the starter to keep it alive. More on that in just a minute. Once a starter has taken it is usually kept refrigerated to slow the growth of the yeast. You can tell when the starter is good to go because it will have a frothy foam like texture at the top of the jar or around the side of the bowl or whatever you have the starter in. I now keep my starter in a jar and it makes it easy to feed regularly and just stick it back in the fridge.
This is the jar I keep my starter in
2. You ask a friend for a cup of their starter so you don’t have to go through getting the starter started ( I can be your friend. I have at least one cup to get rid of every week)
I got my first starter from a woman I was going to church with about 20 years ago, Ms Margaret. she had baked some of this bread and brought it to Mark’s grandmother. I thought it was the best bread I had ever eaten. Some people do not like sourdough bread it is just a matter of taste. I immediately ask her for the recipe and she said “ well I’ll have to give you some starter”
Through the years I have had several starters, I am not sure if this is just a southern thing or not, I let many of them die because I didn’t feed them properly or on time. Feed it? What? Yes you have to keep feeding your starter every 3-7 days to keep it alive. I admit my starter died several times. Each time I would return to MS Margaret, rather sheepishly, and mumble uhmmmm I need more starter. She was always more than happy to give me some and this is why I am happy to share mine. When I go on vacation I give my starter to a family member to feed. I have had this same starter for about ten years!!!! Can you believe it? I think the longer you use from the same starter the better the bread. That is another reason I love sharing the starter. I even had Ms Margaret come back to me for bread starter many years later. She had to go out-of-town for a couple of months and couldn’t feed hers. This was kind of like the teacher returning to the student Ha Ha I was so happy to share it back with her.
Ok here is the process after you have the starter. The starter must be kept in the refrigerator until the day you take it out to feed it (this should be every 3-7 days) this slows the process of the yeast.
On the morning that you feed your bread take the starter out of the refrigerator and add one cup of VERY hot water, not boiling, to the starter. You may keep it in the same jar that you have used to store it in the refrigerator. Then add three tablespoons of potato flakes, any kind of instant potato flakes will do, and 3/4 of a cup of sugar. Mix this together with a wooden spoon and leave it out with the lid off or very loose for at least 6 hours. I am not sure you absolutely have to use a wooden spoon but that is what Ms Margaret told me to do so I always have.
After the starter has set out all day, or all night depending on when you choose to do your bread, you stir it again and pour one cup of the starter out of the jar. This one cup of starter is what you will use to make your bread. If you do not want to make bread you throw that cup away or give it to someone who wants to start making their own bread. you put the rest of the starter back in the fridge.
For the bread, mix together:
1 cup of starter
1/3 cup of sugar
1/2 tsp of salt
1/2 cup of vegetable oil
1&1/2 cups of very hot water (not boiling)
6 cups of bread flour ( you must use bread flour)
Mix all of this together in a large mixing bowl and mix until all the liquid ingredients are absorbed. You may have to use your hands to knead this a little.
After you have formed the dough into a ball. Coat the inside of a separate mixing bowl, make sure the size of the mixing bowl will allow the bread to more than double in size.
Cover the bowl with a paper towel or tea towel. It will take 6-8 hours for the dough to rise. It usually helps to keep it out of a drafty area. I like to sit mine on my kitchen table where the sun shines in.
After the dough has risen to the top of the bowl empty it out onto a floured surface punch it down and knead it for a few minutes. I like to go ahead and divide mine into three smaller balls before punching it down and kneading it. This just makes it easier to handle.
Spray three medium-sized bread pans with non-stick spray and put a ball of dough into the center of each bread pan. Brush the top of the dough with Wesson oil. Cover again with paper towel or tea towels and let it rise to the top. This usually takes another 6-8 hours depending on the temperature inside your house. The bread rises better when it is warmer.
Pre-heat your oven to 350 and bake the bread for 30 minutes.
This is the schedule I use for mine:
Feed bread in the morning leave out all day
make the bread dough late that evening and let it sit out all night
The next morning punch the dough down and knead it and put it into the pans
let it sit out all day to rise and then bake it in the evening. As soon as it comes out of the oven dump it out onto paper towels and spread butter all over the bread.
You can do so many things with the sourdough starter. I sometimes add cinnamon and pecans and bake it and add a glaze as soon as it comes out of the oven. Yummy Yummy!!!
Message me if you have any questions and or would like some starter.
Love your day your way!!!!