Saturday, September 15, 2012

Posted by jinson on 5:09 PM No comments


Last year for Christmas, I got a bread machine.  It was the best Christmas gift I had received in a long time, and it came from my mother-in-law.  Since then, pasta night has always included fresh bread that my husband and daughter love.  It has saved me a ton of money, since I was buying the pilsbury Italian bread dough (refrigerated section) for over $3.00 per loaf.

I had been eyeing the sourdough recipes in the machine's manual and on allrecipes.com, but was a little intimidated. Finally I looked up some recipes for the starter, and was amazed at how easy it is to make and keep your own sourdough starter.  I decided that I should just try it.  I started mine on Monday and after a week of feeding, it was finally time to see if my starter was a "working" starter.  Guess what?  It was the BEST bread I have made so far.

So here's how I did it:

On Monday, I stirred together 1/2 cup flour and 1/2 cup water and put it in a large empty yogurt containers (I always save any containers like butter tubs, yogurt tubs, etc).   You can use any container that will hold about a quart that is plastic or glass (no metal).   Then I put it on top of the fridge.  On top of a fridge is supposed to have the most constant temperature of any place in your kitchen.  The idea is that you will cultivate your own 'crop' of the yeast that occurs naturally in both the flour and the air.  If you want to help the process along just a little ( I did), you can sprinkle a little commercial yeast into the mixture (when I say a little, I mean like 1/8 tsp or less).

Then, once a day for four more days, I "fed" my starter another half cup of flour and half cup of water and put it back on the fridge. No more commercial yeast is needed, since you are trying to get the natural yeast going. Think of it like a needy house plant during this week, needing daily attention.  On the sixth day (Saturday, in this case), you SHOULD be ready to bake with it.

Sounds easy so far, right?  It was even easier than it sounds!  I did set a reminder on my phone for the same time each day, since I didn't want to forget to feed it.  Now for the recipe I tried! Remember, this recipe is for a bread machine, but it could be done by hand.

    Basic Sourdough Bread    

    3/4 cup warm water (110 degrees F)
    1 cup sourdough starter
    1 1/2 teaspoon salt
    2 2/3 cups bread flour
    1 1/2 teaspoons active dry yeast

  1. Add all ingredients in order
  2. Select dough setting, and push start
  3. Bake in/on the greased pan of your choice at 365 degrees until golden.
I hardly ever bake the bread in the bread machine, but if you wanted to, you would select the white bread setting.

When you take the cup of starter out, you should replace it by adding 1/2 cup each of water and flour.  Now  you can put your starter in the fridge and you will only need to feed it every week or so.  Remember to always replace what you use.

Now that I know that I CAN make  sourdough bread, I am going to expand on it and try sourdough rolls and sourdough pizza crust.

I will update with some pictures soon, and I will let you know how my other sourdough experiments turn out.  
Until next time. . .

*NOTE*  It has been brought to my attention that I didn't specify whether the starter should be covered or uncovered.  It should indeed be covered.  Also, you want to make sure your container has plenty of room left in it when you 'feed' the starter.  If you need to, you can always discard a cup (or make more bread!)  before you feed.

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