During the 1970’s, bread baking was making a comeback on kitchens across America. Though it never actually died out, we saw more people baking with yeast and trying their hand at making homemade yeast breads. One type of bread that really became popular then was Sourdough bread. This was a bread that required a “starter”, or a yeast-based mixture, that enabled the baker to use part of it for baking, feed back the remaining starter with a few bread ingredients, then bake again later on. The starter could even be shared with friends or neighbors, so they could make their own starter and breads. It was then shared with others and on and on it went!
There are numerous recipes for sourdough starter. Some starter recipes are rather involved and some I’ve tried, for some reason, don’t work well. However, I’ve discovered one that’s very easy and reliable. The “Sourdough Starter” begins with a few basic ingredients you would use in bread baking. It sits at room temperature for five days, to which then it’s refrigerated. When ready to use, part of the starter is removed for baking, the remaining starter fed with flour, milk and sugar, then refrigerated again until the baker is ready to bake something with it.
Today, I’m sharing the recipe for the starter and a recipe for “Sourdough Bread”, which is a soft loaf bread that’s light and tender. It uses self-rising flour, which is rather unusual for yeast-based breads. It makes a loaf of bread that’s fragrant and great eating.
While on the subject of yeast baking, I shared a set of recipes for a yeast dough that is made ahead and refrigerated, ready for you to use when you’re ready for it. Here’s the links to those recipes, in the event you don’t already have them:
If you’ve never tried sourdough bread baking before, here’s your chance to try it! Tomorrow, I’ll share two more recipes using the starter, so be sure to check in with me then! Meantime, here’s how you begin making the starter and a good bread:
- 1 envelope dry yeast
- 1/2 cup lukewarm water
- 2 cups warm water
- 2 cups all-purpose flour
- 1 tablespoon sugar
Dissolve yeast in 1/2 cup lukewarm water. Stir in the 2 cups warm water, flour and sugar. Beat until smooth. Cover this bowl with a cloth and let it stand at room temperature for 5 days. Every now and then, stir the mixture. At the end of the 5 days, place the starter in a covered container and refrigerate until ready to use.
Pointers in using the starter:
- If used one day and fed back, it can be fed back the next day.
- It’s good to use the starter at least once a week or two, or at least stirred down and fed back.
- If three weeks or so pass and it hasn’t been used and the starter appears watery on top, remove a small amount of the starter, feed the remaining starter back, stir it well and refrigerate again. It’s practically indestructable!
- 1 envelope dry yeast
- 1/2 cup warm water
- 1 cup Starter
- 2 cups self-rising flour
- 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
Mix all the above ingredients together (no kneading is necessary). Turn into a loaf pan that has been well greased or sprayed with cookware spray. Let this sit at room temperature for 1 hour. Bake at 400 degrees until browned and firm in the center. Remove from pan immediately. Before baking, drizzle melted butter over the top and this will help it brown beautifully.