When I was little, my dad frequently made bread on Saturdays. (Maybe it wasn't really all that frequent, but that's how I remember it.) He'd use his grandmother's recipe that made 10 loaves and make all kinds of varieties...cinnamon bread (with or without raisins), monkey bread, rolls, cinnamon rolls, regular loaves and, one of my favorites, onion pie! (Make a loaf of bread, put the dough in a pie plate and pile on LOTS and LOTS of sauteed onions, then bake. Yummy!!)
I picked up bread making from him and it was even a science fair project for me for two years in high school. I experimented with different sugars, different water temperatures, different yeasts to see what combinations worked best. If you really want to know, I can pull out the old project and tell you, but really...just follow the recipes!
Anyway, I digress. My dad also made sourdough bread on occasion and at Christmas time would color it red and green. That was always fun to take to school...a green sandwich!
But, in all my years of making bread, I had never made sourdough bread. Until this week!
A while back, I decided I wanted to make it so last weekend I made the starter and let that sit for the requisite 48 hour period. Then, Sunday night I started the bread and let it sit overnight as the recipe said. I spent Monday babysitting it (not much work involved really...just punch it down a few times and let it do its thing).
I must say, warm bread, straight from the oven, with some melted butter brushed on it....YUM!
If you'd like to try it for yourself, here's the recipe.
½ C starter*
½ C sugar
2 C warm water
3 C flour
Mix ingredients, beat until smooth. Cover with towel, let set overnight. Next morning, beat thoroughly and place ½ C back in jar and refrigerate for next time.
To remaining, add:
1½ C warm water
2 t salt
6 - 8 C flour
½ C sugar
½ C oil
As dough becomes too stiff to beat, turn out on floured board and knead until dough is smooth and not sticky. Place in greased bowl. Cover and allow to rise until doubled in volume (about 2.5 hours). Punch down and allow to rise again (about 2 hours). After second rising, shape into loaves. Allow to rise until double in volume (about 2 hours). Bake at 375° for 30-45 min. Remove from oven, butter tops and allow bread to cool with damp towel on top. Yield 4 loaves.
1 pkg. yeast
2 C warm water
2 C flour
1 T sugar
Combine all ingredients in a large glass or pottery container (3qt works well). Cover with towel and let stand at room temperature for 48 hours, stirring it down several times. Refrigerate in quart-size glass jar until ready to use.