Monday, December 1, 2008

Sour Dough Bread

This time of year when there are many parties and family gatherings I receive a lot of requests for my sour dough bread.
The starter was a gift from a neighbor. It came with that friendship bread recipe. I don't like sweets, so I just make my sour dough bread like I used to make my regular yeast bread.
Sour dough starter is alive. Mine lives in the refrigerator in a one gallon plastic freezer bag. Once every week or two, I feed it. Usually there is a little hooch on top of the starter. This is alcohol and I just poor it off. Then I add 1/3 cup of sugar, 1 cup of flower, and 3 cups of water. This is pretty runny stuff, but remember, I just pored off some of the liquid and may need to do that again before I bake.
Many recipes tell you to make a sponge. Not me.
Here are few measurements that I don't use.
2 cups starter
3 cups bread flour
1 egg
3 tablespoons olive oil or butter
3 tablespoons honey
Pinch of salt.
Mix it all together. It should be a very soft loose dough. If it is too stiff, add more starter.
Next comes the kneading. Turn out the dough on a floured cutting board. Use lots and lots of flour. Knead by pushing the dough away from you and then folding it back toward you in a rocking motion. Don't be rough and don't kneed too long. As soon as the dough is elastic, holds a ball shape, and is relatively smooth STOP.
Place the dough in an oiled glass bowl and let rise for a long long time. If it cold in the house, I set it on top of my food dehydrator with a plate over the bowl to keep the dough from drying out.
After the dough has doubled or no longer springs back when you pressed it with your thumb, turn it back out onto the cutting board. Divide the dough in half. Knead just like before. Let the dough balls sit for a few minutes and then shape into loaves. Place in a oiled glass baking pan and let rise again for a long long time.
When the dough has doubled in size again, or when you simply run out of time and patience, bake the bread at 350 for 20 minutes or until golden brown. Brush the loaves with melted butter and let cool.
Then get out of the way. People get a little aggressive when cutting and serving this bread.

There are only a few more hours to vote on radishes. Let me know how you feel.
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  1. I LOVE fresh sourdough bread! Being here in the San Francisco Bay Area means that we have some great bakeries that specialize in it. Good thing, because I'm not brave enough to try and make it myself.

  2. Cindy, It really isn't hard. I would guess the actual work takes less than 15 minutes. The rest is just watching and waiting.

  3. Ok, I'll do it! I heard that sourdough bread originated in San Fran down in the warehouse district. The bakers who made bread for the workers back when San Fran was young, worked up a sweat doing so. The sweat dropped in the bread dough.

    The live yeast critters loved that sweat mixed in and ate it up! The yeast critter poo as you know gave the bread it's sour flavor. Just like cheese get's its favor from what ever critter they use to make the cheese.

    Now enjoy your sourdough with that thought in mind.

  4. Anna, yep fermentation is a shall we say "biproduct" Very yummy and make happy biproduct. I will raise a glass of wine in your honor right about now. GO POOP.

  5. I used to have sourdough starter that I fed and used it to bake sourdough coffee cake. I let the starter die unfortunately, after a couple of years and haven't had any since. That coffee cake alone was good enough to keep the starter around. I need to get some from someone or start my own. Not sure if I know how to do that; I'll have to look it up!

  6. Kylee, put a bowl of 1 cup flour and one cup water out on the counter. It will make sour dough starter. Give it about two weeks. When it begins to bubble - you have starter.

  7. That's it? Flour and water? That seems too easy!

  8. The last bit in the comments - that answers it. I was thinking I couldn't try it because I didn't know how to get a starter.

    I think I'll have to wait for warmer weather though.

    I gave up making bread a while back - partly because I couldn't be certain I'd be there even roughly at the right moment of the rising and partly because, in the winter, there are too many drafts as the doors open and shut - which spoils it.

    I've heard of sour bread but have never known what it is.

    Now, I do!


  9. Hi Debbie that looks delicious I can 'cybersmellit', I bake sour dough bread as well but I will try Aunt Debbi's recipe as well./ Tyra

  10. Mine died. I am tempted to try your method Debbi. Will report if I do.

  11. Yum, I love it. I making pound cake today for hubby's birthday.

  12. Kylee, Just to prove it, I started one of my own out of whole wheat. I added an extra half cup of water as it seems a little thick. It is sitting out towards the back of my kitchen counter. I covered the bowl with a saucer to keep stuff from getting in it.

    Lucy, the food dehydrator really helps out during cold weather.

    Aiyana, it really is easy.

    Tyra, let me know how it turns out.

    Foxy, sometimes it looks like it has spoiled, but it hasn't. It is that hooch. Just poor it off and feed it. I have been told that if you put something metal in it, like a spoon, that will kill it.

    Mother Natures Garden, I love lemon verbena pound cake.

  13. Okay, I don't know WHERE you women (who even have monkeys at home!) find the time to bake bread, for heaven's sake. But I must be the sloth, cause I'm NOT baking bread. I do well to bake brownies out of the box occasionally. Just made some for Robert's 41st birthday yesterday. Couldn't even remember to turn the oven off. Found it on hours later.

  14. Brenda, I leave the oven on all the time. As you might imagine, the atmosphere around here is pretty crazy. Why not throw a loaf of bread into the mix.

  15. I have flour and water sitting on my countertop in the kitchen right now. :-)