How I Make Sourdough Bread
I checked out many books from the library. I found this one on Amazon, cheap, actually more of a pamphlet. I consider it the best book I saw for simple sourdough.
I followed his instructions for making my starter. It's just water and flour left out on the counter until it picks up yeasts from the air and becomes bubbly. I had success with it on the first try and have kept it going for years. I am happy to share it with anyone that would like to stop by and pick some up.
Storing Your Starter
This is how I store my starter in the refrigerator between batches. It's just flour and water with an unbleached coffee filter on top being held on with a rubber band to allow it to get air and still keep "stuff" out. It can just hang out in the 'frig for weeks between batches. If a black liquid forms on top, I just pour it off. Or at least I usually do. If it's not much, I just stir it in to the starter and consider it more yeast.
Waking Up Your Starter
When you want to make some sourdough bread, just remove your starter from the refrigerator and let it warm to room temperature on your counter for a few hours. Then pour entire contents into a clean bowl, add some more flour and water, and let it sit for a few more hours (or overnight) until it gets bubbly, like in the photo. I take about ½ cup of this fresh starter, put it back in the jar, add a bit more water and flour, secure coffee filter with rubber band, and put into the refrigerator to use the next time I want to make bread.
The simplest sourdough bread is made with simply water, flour, and salt (1 teaspoon salt per loaf). That is how I made this particular batch. I just "eyeball" the amount. I add water to fill my big Tupperware bowl about ¼ full and then add the salt and some flour and stir it in, adding flour until I can't stir anymore. Then I start kneading it it, right in the bowl to avoid a mess on my counter. I add flour and knead until it doesn't stick to my fingers anymore, but not as dense as I would make "regular" yeast-raised bread dough. Then I set it aside to raise in the bowl until doubled in size,
covered with a towel, at room temperature.
Ready to Bake!
This is a photo of my dough ready to put in a pan. This amount makes 2 loaves for me. I bake it in a bread loaf pan, so I can easily cut it for toasting in my toaster, but you could easily form and bake it in the typical sourdough style. Let it rise until doubled in size, covered with a towel. Preheat oven to 350 degrees, Fahrenheit. Bake for 30-35 minutes or until it sounds hollow when tapped. Let cool a bit and then dig in!
Little tip - I've recently made a small batch of cinnamon rolls with some of the dough when making bread. Delicious treat!
I forgot to take a photo of the bread in the pan, but here is the final product. Very good texture. Exceptional for French toast!
Optional add-ins when making the dough:
Honey or another sweetener
(makes it rise faster)
Egg or two
Fat of some sort, such as ghee or olive oil.
Other flours - rye, whole wheat, whatever. Our local co-op has a flour blend for making a multi-seed bread that is very tasty with this bread.
Could add any seasonings or spices or cheese or nuts or seeds or......
Time involved - I typically figure it takes 2 days, from initially removing the starter from the refrigerator until the loaves are baked and ready to eat.