Who doesn’t enjoy the smell of homemade bread? I know this household loves it! I make sourdough about once a week. It is our go-to sandwich bread. It makes great bread for toast and jam also. Every good Sourdough Bread starts with a starter.
For the starter:
2 cups warm water
1 tbsp. sugar or honey
1 tbsp. active dry yeast
2 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
1. Pour the warm water into a 2-quart glass or ceramic jar or bowl. Add in the sugar or honey and stir until dissolved. Add in the yeast; stir.
2. Slowly whisk in the flour and cover cheese cloth. I always wrap a rubber band around the top.. Let the jar sit in a warm area.
3. Let the starter develop for 2-5 days, stirring once a day. When a sour aroma has developed and the bubbles have subsided, stir once more until ready to use. This step depends on the humidity in the air and the temperature of the house. I kept my jar on my window sill in the kitchen for 9 days.
You will need to feed your starter only once every two weeks. By using 1 cup of the starter in a recipe, you will be feeding it. Once you remove one cup of the starter, replace it with 1 cup of flour and 1/2 cup of water. Stir to combine and then let the starter sit out for another 12 hours before placing it back in the fridge. If you do not plan on baking with the starter in two weeks’ time, just discard the 1 cup of starter but still replace it with the flour and water. I have also shared my starter with family and friends. Every starter has its own yeast. There are some sourdough starters that are 6 generations old or older.
After you have the starter made (or purchased), use this fool proof recipe for bread bowls, hamburger buns or sandwich bread. In the bowl of an electric mixer, combine 1 Cup Starter, 1 1/2 Cups lukewarm water, 2 Teaspoons Active Dry Yeast, 1 Tablespoon Sugar and 2 1/2 Teaspoons Salt.
Put the dough hook attachment on your electric mixer and add 1 Cup of flour at a time until 5 Cups have been completely combined. This will take about 7-10 minutes. After the dough has formed a ball, place into a greased bowl and cover with a damp towel. Put the dough in a warm place to rise for 1 1/2 hours.
Next split the dough into whatever form you want. Here I separated it into 2 equal pieces and have let them rise for another 1 hour. No matter what form you chose, just be sure it rises for the full hour.
Bake at 425 degrees for about 1 hour or the internal temperature reaches 200 degrees. Let cool completely on a wire rack.
For the bread:
1 cup sourdough starter
1 1/2 cups lukewarm water
2 tsp. active dry yeast
1 tbsp. sugar
2 1/2 tsp. salt
5 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
1. In the bowl of an electric mixer, combine all ingredients. Using a dough hook, knead on medium-low speed until dough is smooth, 7-10 minutes.
2. Remove dough to a clean work surface and knead by hand to form a smooth, round ball. Place into a lightly oiled bowl and cover with a damp dish cloth. Place in a warm spot and allow to rise until doubled in size, about 1 1/2 hours.
3. Remove dish cloth and gently divide the dough. For bread bowl, divide dough into 4 or more pieces and shape into rounds. For regular loaves, divide into two pieces and shape into ovals.
4. Place loaves onto a parchment lined baking sheet and cover with a clean kitchen towel. Let rise until very puffy, about 1 hour. Preheat the oven to 425 degrees.
5. Spray the loaves with lukewarm water and create two deep, diagonal slashes in each loaf. (Use a serrated knife.)
6. For bread bowls, bake for 20-25 minutes. For regular loaves, bake for 25-30 minutes. (Bread should reach 200 degrees when tested with an instant-read thermometer.) Cool completely on a wire rack.