TL:DR recipe and fun stuff to follow
¾ cups starter
2 ½ cups bread flour (I like an artisanal flour with some malted barley)
1.5 T white sugar
1 ¼ t salt
¾ T active dry yeast
½ cup warm water
- I feed ½ cup of my starter the night before and leave it out to rise overnight. I put the remaining starter back in the fridge for later. In the morning, when I use the ¾ c starter, I cook the leftover like a pancake and add seasonings (sweet or savory, your choice). It’s YUMMY!
- This recipe makes two round loaves (bread bowl size) and can be doubled.
- I LOVE the Pyrex 1.5L Dutch oven for baking! I let the dough rise in the bowl and shape the bread and cook it on the flat lid with the bowl on top. It keeps the crust the right amount of chewy for me and the bread rises better in a Dutch oven. (https://amzn.to/2Gbetow) link to Amazon for Pyrex Dutch oven.
- In mixing bowl with dough hook, combine starter with 1 cup flour, sugar, salt, water, and dry yeast.
- Add remaining 2 ½ cups flour slowly.
- Run the dough hook on low for 6-8 minutes until it looks good, smooth, and pliable!
- Put dough in a greased bowl to rise. Cover and keep away from drafts. Let rise for 3 hours or more. (Like, go to work…)
- Punch your risen dough down and then, shape into loaves. Allow to rise until it’s doubled in size again. Can be an hour or more.
- Punch down again and let rest 20 minutes in the bowl. Then, put them onto the Dutch oven plate OR a greased baking sheet.
- Score the tops of the bread. This allows it to expand and rise better. You can add water on top to help with the crunch.
- Bake 375 degrees for 30 minutes or until done.
Okay, and now the fun stuff, because let’s be honest if you Googled sourdough recipe you’d rather have the freaking sourdough recipe than my meanderings with instructions laced throughout. I hate that. Anyway, I’m not depressed (and I really don’t need the baking meme, thanks), I AM an empty nester and with just the two of us, we don’t eat a lot of bread in a week. I’m a science geek, too, so I thought it’d be fun to try baking. I’ve been working on this recipe since Thanksgiving and will probably continue to tweak it. I bought the sourdough starter from Amazon but truthfully, the starter needs to “age” for a while to get that amazing tart sourdough bread taste that I LOVE so much. I grew up in the San Francisco bay area and now live in West Virginia and am sourdough deprived. I’m also always looking for ways to reduce the number of steps needed… okay, I’m lazy. Anyway, I’ve got a KitchenAid mixer with a dough hook that kneads the bread for you and is a pretty easy cleanup. I typically feed the starter the night before and when I’m having my coffee in the morning I mix the dough and then let it rise. I work from home because I’m super fortunate, so at lunch I punch it down and put it into the bread baskets to rise. You can use any kind of bowl. The bamboo ones make cool ridges. Then, when I’m making dinner I finish the steps so we can have fresh-baked bread with dinner.
There are a TON of variations on sourdough. This one uses yeast as well as starter and I’ve tried it without the yeast… It was a very dense bread. Upon reading it became obvious that if you want to just use starter you need to let it rise for much longer. Have I mentioned I’m lazy? I’m also impatient. So, I use yeast. The BEST part is the aroma. I love this bread recipe and when the kids are coming home for the weekend I double it. I hope you enjoy!