Monday, May 2, 2011

Sourdough Bread

This is my favorite bread! My favorite way to eat it is right out of the oven with butter melting on a (large) slice. It's also great for making grilled cheeses and French toast. It looks a little more complicated but it really isn't! Just make the starter and keep it in your fridge.


1 package (1 tbsp.) dry yeast
1/2 cup warm water (105-115 degrees)
2 cups all-purpose flour
3 tbsp. sugar
1 tsp. salt
2 cups warm water

Starter Food:

1/4 cup sugar
1 cup all-purpose flour
1 cup milk

Dissolve yeast in 1/2 cup warm water; let stand 5 minutes. Combine flour, sugar, and salt in a medium-size non-metal bowl and stir well. Gradually stir in 2 cups warm water. Add yeast mixture and mix well. Cover starter loosely with plastic wrap or cheesecloth; let stand in a warm place for 72 hours, stirring 2 or 3 times daily. Place fermented mixture in a refrigerator and stir once a day. Use within 11 days. To use, remove sourdough starter from refrigerator and let stand at room temperature for at least one hour. Stir starter well and measure amount of starter needed for recipe. Replenish remaining starter with starter food; stir well. Return to refrigerator. Use starter within 2-14 days, stirring daily. When starter is used again, repeat above procedure for using starter and replenishing with starter food. (Never cover the container too tightly as gas needs to escape and air needs to get in to react with the yeast.)

Sourdough Bread:

2 packages (2 tbsp.) dry yeast
1 1/2 cups warm water
1 cup sourdough starter
1/4 cup vegetable oil
1/4 cup sugar
2 tsp. salt
5 1/2 cups flour

Dissolve yeast in warm water in a large non-metal bowl; let stand 5 minutes. Stir in sourdough starter, 1/4 cup vegetable oil, sugar, salt, and 3 cups flour. Gradually stir in enough remaining flour to make a soft dough. Turn dough out onto a floured surface and knead for 8-10 minutes until smooth and elastic. Place in a well-greased bowl turning to grease top. Cover and let rise in a warm place, free from drafts, 1 to 1 1/2 hours or until doubled in bulk. Punch down dough and divide in half; place on a floured surface. Roll each half into a 12 by 18 in. rectangle. Tightly roll up dough starting at narrow edge; pinch seams and ends together with seal. Place loaves seam side down in 2 greased loaf pans. Cover and let rise in a warm place free from drafts about one hour or until doubled in bulk. Bake at 375ยบ for30-35 minutes or until loaves sound hollow when lightly tapped. Remove loaves from pan and let cool.

(I don't bake my bread that long. I bake it until the tops are brown, then cover with aluminum foil and bake about 7 minutes longer. But my oven bakes hot. Just watch it the first time and check the middle.)

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