Five thousand years ago, an Egyptian noticed that flour he had left out had become wet and started bubbling. He baked it in bread and the bread had a light fluffy texture and a great taste thus, the discovery of sourdough. Today, sourdough is not just stirred together; each baker carefully crafts it.

Sourdough starters are the key to cooking sourdough dishes, and each starter has its own unique flavor. Here is how to make a basic sourdough starter:

2 C all purpose flour
1 t salt
3 T sugar
1 T dry yeast
2 C lukewarm water

In a mixing bowl, add all of the dry ingredients and stir, gradually adding water until it resembles a paste. Cover and set in a warm place. Stir mixture several times a day. In two or three days, it will be ready. Once you have used the amount needed, put the remainder in an airtight container in the refrigerator. To keep your sourdough starter alive it needs to be fed about once a week.

To make delicious sourdough bread:

1 C starter
2 C lukewarm water
1 C milk
3 T softened butter
3 T sugar
2 t salt
1 T active dry yeast
¼ C warm water
6 ½ C all purpose flour
1 t baking soda
Canola oil

Measure starter into large bowl; add water and 2 ½ C flour and let sit overnight. 

Heat milk, add butter, 2T sugar and 1t salt. Let cool. Sprinkle yeast over ¼ C warm water and let stand for five minutes. Stir yeast into milk mixture, and add to starter mixture. Beat until well mixed, adding 2C flour while beating. Mix baking soda with remaining sugar and salt, sift over dough and mix well. Cover and let sit for 30-40 minutes. 

Add the remaining flour and mix until it is stiff enough to pull away from the sides of the bowl. Place dough on floured surface and knead for five minutes.

Divide dough in half and let rest for 10 minutes, covered. 

Shape loaves and place in pans. Brush oil on tops of loaves. Let rise until doubled in size. Bake at 375° for fifty minutes or until done.

Once you have made two loaves of sourdough bread, you will never want to go back to store bought bread. Enjoy!

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