You won’t find any commercial yeast in my recipe. Sourdough — the real McCoy, anyway — gets its rise from a “starter.” A starter is simply flour and water. When exposed to the elements — indoors or out — the mixture attracts wild yeast and friendly bacteria from the air. I make sourdough starter this way.
The day before you plan to bake, feed your starter every 8-12 hours, or until you have at least 2 1/2 cups. You’ll need 2 cups of starter for bread. The extra 1/2 cup will insure that you don’t run out of starter.
A neat trick: Not sure if your starter is active enough for bread-baking? Drop a spoonful into a glass of water. If the starter floats, it’s good to go!
No standing mixer for you?
You can mix and knead the dough entirely by hand.
And wait…and wait…and wait… for the dough to double in volume. Sourdough can take quite awhile to rise, because it does not contain commerical “active dry” yeast. My loaf, encouraged by the slight warmth of a heating pad, was ready in 4 hours. But yours might take 6 or 8 hours. So be patient!
Let the bread cool thoroughly before slicing.
Or, be like me, and let the loaf cool for only 5 minutes.
Need a copy-and-paste version of the above? Here we go-go:
Sourdough Sandwich Loaf
Kevin Lee Jacobs (www.kevinleejacobs.com)
Ingredients for 1 9×5 loaf
3 cups all-purpose flour
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
2 cups homemade sourdough starter
1 cup warm (110°F) water
In the bowl of a standing mixer, whisk together the flour and salt. Then pour on the sourdough starter and water. Mix at low speed until the flour is thoroughly moistened. Then increase the speed to medium, and knead until the dough is smooth and elastic — 7-10 minutes.
Scrape the dough onto a lightly floured surface. Sprinkle the top of the dough with a little flour. Then pat the dough out, and form it into a loaf.
Put the loaf in a 9×5-inch bread pan, cover with a kitchen towel, and let rise until doubled in volume — 4-6 hours.
Bake the center rack of a preheated 400°F oven until the crust colors slightly, and the bread makes a hollow sound when rapped with the knuckles — about 30 minutes.
Cool thoroughly on a wire rack before slicing.
Does sourdough bread make your taste-buds dance? You can let me know by leaving a comment.
Oh. Coming soon: a rustic sourdough boule with a crackling crust!
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