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Making Sourdough Could Change Your Life

January 12, 2010

All right, before I even get started with this post, please tell me you saw How I Met Your Mother last night.  Hilarious.  The musical number had me laughing so hard, I love Neal Patrick Harris!  Any actor who doesn’t take themself too seriously is fantastic in my book, and he is right up there with the best of them.

Anyway, I was thinking back to a time (not so long ago), when I was doing the whole yo yo thing, before I got more serious about my health, and trying to eat whole, natural foods whenever possible.  There was a sad time in my life when I cut out carbs.  That was just stupid.  I was sluggish, grumpy and kept getting sick.  Now, I’m just smart about what carbs I eat.  I’ve also discovered that making some of my own carbs at home is one of the best things in the world.  There’s absolutely nothing in the whole world like the smell of fresh bread baking away, and I’m doing a whole lot of experimenting lately making bread.

I’ve never really been one of those people that was scared of baking with yeast, I tend to just dive into baking challenges head first.  I decided over this weekend that I was going to try and tackle sourdough bread.   I was terrified of this, mostly because of my last failed attempts at fermentation, but that wasn’t going to stop me.  I turned to one of my favorite standbys, How to Cook Everything Vegetarian to learn and adapt the process.

I’ve only done this once so far, and apparently the first time you make sourdough takes the longest, because you have to make a sourdough starter.  It’s best to start this whole process 2-3 days before you actually plan to make the bread.  You’ll need the following:

  • 4 1/2 cups bread flour
  • 5/8 tsp. instant yeast
  • 2 tsp. salt
  • 1 cup whole wheat flour

First, combine 1 1/2 cups of the bread flour with 1/8 tsp. of yeast and 1 cup warm water.  Stir with a wooden or plastic spoon (never metal), and cover it loosely with a clean kitchen towel.  Store it somewhere out of the way (like on top of your fridge).  Give it a stir every 8 to 12 hours (no metal spoons!).  It will eventually become bubbly and start to smell a little sour.  This is your sourdough starter. You only have to do this one time, and will start the process from the next step from now on.

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The night before you plan to make the bread, combine the starter with 2 cups bread flour and 1 1/2 cups warm water in a food processor or bowl.  Process or mix until smooth.  Then cover with a clean kitchen towel and let it rest overnight  It will bubble and foam a bit (the least amount of time this should rest is 6 hours).

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Transfer half of the starter to a covered container and refrigerate until the next time you want to make bread.  Add 1/2 tsp. yeast, the salt and whole wheat flour to the remaining starter in the food processor, and turn the machine on.  Slowly add water until a ball forms.  Add a little water (tbsp. at a time) if it’s too dry, and a little flour (tbsp. at a time) if it’s too wet.

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Take the blade out of the food processor and cover with plastic wrap.  Let the dough sit for at least an hour.

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Take a nap.

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Sorry!  I had to.

Dump the dough out onto a floured surface and shape it however you would like-baguettes, big loaf, rolls.  Let your bread sit covered with a towel while your oven preheats to 375°.

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Before you put your bread in the oven, slash the tops with a razor or sharp knife (I made an X on top of my rolls).  Using a peel transfer the bread onto baking sheets coated with nonstick spray.

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Bake the breads until they are golden brown (about 20 minutes).

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I am so glad I bit the bullet and made sourdough bread!  This was surprisngly easy, even though it was time consuming.  I just ate half a roll on the side of my dinner, because I decided to share them with friends instead of keeping them all.  It was soooo yummy!  I will definitely be making sourdough bread on a regular basis.  Next up in my little bakery…pita bread!  I think that should be fun!  I also made some crackers from the olive oil salt bread I made last week.  I’ll share that with you guys after I make the pita bread.

Don’t forget to enter my Waterpik electric toothbrush giveaway!

Remember back in the day when I reviewed Peeled Snacks?  Well, not they are available in Starbucks!  Be sure to check them out!  I see a road trip in my future 🙂

What’s your favorite kind of bread?  Do you ever make bread at home?  What’s your favorite recipe?

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16 Comments leave one →
  1. Solomon permalink
    January 12, 2010 8:54 am

    CORNBREAD…ain’t nothin’ wrong with that!

  2. eaternotarunner permalink
    January 12, 2010 11:56 am

    Those look so good! I have never baked bread before…unless you could banana bread 😉

  3. January 12, 2010 12:06 pm

    Looks yummy!! I love to make cornbread!! In fact…I might just make some tonight! 🙂

  4. January 12, 2010 12:12 pm

    Thank you for this!!! I have never made sourdough.

  5. January 12, 2010 12:32 pm

    I love love love sourdough bread! I have yet to try to make it though. I need to try this out.

  6. January 12, 2010 12:36 pm

    I am a master of many breads, but I have never conquered the sourdough! I think the sourdough gods just have it in for me; my loaves are always too sour, too flat, too dense….one day I’m just going to swallow my pride and /buy/ a starter.

  7. January 12, 2010 12:58 pm

    I need to try to make sourdough bread. It looks tough, but you seem to make it look easy. I will probably give this a try and make bread bowls for soup with it.

    I like How I met your MOther also. I ahve only watched season 1 though. I need to order more.

  8. January 12, 2010 12:59 pm

    I’ve always been scared to make my own bread. Don’t know why. I love sourdough though.

  9. January 12, 2010 3:01 pm

    Oh my gosh I’ve been looking for a good sourdough recipe that incorporated wheat flour. I will definitely try this one! 🙂

  10. greensandjeans permalink
    January 12, 2010 4:05 pm

    I LOVE sourdough! I might have to give this a shot!

  11. January 12, 2010 5:03 pm

    Great job on the sourdough bread!! I’m impressed!!

    My favorite kind of bread is honey wheat!! 🙂

  12. Shelley (findinghappinessandhealth) permalink
    January 12, 2010 7:14 pm

    i really want a food processor..the more i think about it, the angrier i get haha 🙂 i really like cinnamon raisin bread! my mom makes a delicious like beer bread that is sooo good

    xoxo
    shelley

    http://findinghappinessandhealth.wordpress.com

  13. January 12, 2010 11:49 pm

    Excellent informative post! Actually I’m planning on making bread tomorrow. I’ve never made bread before… but I make lots of muffins and mini loaves! Dark rye flour with lots of ground flax seed and some honey is delicious.

  14. January 13, 2010 10:26 am

    mmm i love all bread! slightly sweet whole wheat ones are a fav around here

  15. January 13, 2010 11:58 am

    i’m loving my sourdough lately, but my starter is just flour + water! i love seeing different recipes for it.

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  1. On a Bread Kick « Live, Love, Eat and Play

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