Learning to make Sourdough Bread was easier than I thought
Sourdough bread has always been my favorite bread. I don’t even remember when I discovered that I love the sour flavor, soft middle and crunchy crust. The truth of the matter is, though, I never made it myself. Yes, it was a well covered truth that I spent lots of money at fancy grocery stores buying “real” sourdough bread. The loaves they sell at a lot of food stores doesn’t even taste like sourdough bread. Maybe it is but it is lacking the real flavor and crunchy crust. During the recent snow event we had in the area, I decided to get my sourdough bread starter going and then actually bake loaves of sourdough bread at home! I am so glad I had the extra time to see this though. I overcame my worry that it wouldn’t work and that I would be wasting all that good flour. It worked and it is delicious. Now, every day, I am activating a small batch of the starter and letting it become bubbly. Later that day or early the next, I will mix up the dough. Patience seems to be the biggest hurdle. You won’t have sourdough bread a few hours after you start the recipe. But if you can summon up the patience to cater to the dough for a few minutes a couple times a day, you can have fresh sourdough bread everyday.
Getting Started with Sourdough Bread
To begin, I searched my pinterest board on Bread Recipes for some guidance and recipes. I had pinned this post from Montana Homesteader with a collection of over 70 sourdough recipes. I read through a few but this one from Common Sense Homesteading was the closest to how I had begun my starter. I used starter grains from Cultures for Health, as she did. This seemed like the perfect set of directions for me to follow. I wish Cultures from Health had included a few recipes with the grains but apparently they have them on their website.
I followed the instructions from Common Sense Home, at least the first time. I have been experimenting with different variations after getting the first two delicious loaves of bread. I am still a beginner but I branched out to make a french style baggette and both dinner rolls and sandwich style rolls.
Starter – Follow the instructions on the package if using starter grains I waited 6 days while feeding and stirring the starter as the directions explained
When making my first batch of bread this is what I did.
- The night before I scooped out 1/2 cup of starter into a medium sized glass bowl
- Add 1 cup of all purpose flour and 1/2 cup of water. Mix briskly. Cover with a tea towel and sit it out on the counter over night.
- The next morning, take all the activated starter from the bowl and place it into the kitchen aid mixer bowl. (of course you can use whatever mixer you have, or even mix by hand)
- One cup at a time, add up to three and a half more cups of flour (at this point I used bread flour) 1 cup of room temperature water and a scant Tablespoon of salt.
- Mix until the dough ball forms. Add small amounts of additional flour if needed to get to a smooth elastic dough.
- Place the dough on a cutting board
- Cut the dough into two parts
- Shape each half into the loaf you desire. Round loaves can be shaped or placed in a round Pyrex bowl for baking. Bread pans are used if you want a traditional rectangular loaf. When making rolls, divide half the dough into equal small pieces and place on a lightly greased cookie sheet. (I use coconut oil) Now comes the patience test.
- Cover the dough shapes and walk away.
I know it’s hard
After four hours you can punch down the dough and reshape for a second rise or just leave the dough alone for at least 8 hours. 12 hours is better and if you can stand it, wait a little longer. Yikes! I know it is hard.
Finally! Time to Bake the Bread
Preheat oven 400 degrees Fahrenheit.
Bake loaves for 30 minutes. Baguettes from the quarter of the dough bake about 20 to 25 minutes and rolls bake 15 to 20 minutes. The internal temperature of the bread should be 200 degrees when fully baked.
When the bread is done baking, remove from the pans onto a wire rack for cooling and to prevent sogginess.
Now reward yourself with a great big slab of bread smothered in real butter. You deserve it. That took incredible patience.
The bread basket in the feature photo is available from 1840 Farm
Common Sense Homesteading Easy Sourdough Bread
Montana Homesteader 70+ Sourdough Recipes