I know, I know, I’m not Southern. Gosh, I’m not even American. I just really enjoy using the word (phrase?) y’all, because it sounds friendly and cute and personable… at least, to me it does. So, ummm, anyways…
Let’s bake some bread!
Simple Sourdough Bread (really!)
I suppose the only thing not simple about this bread is that first you have to make the starter, and it has a long rising time (well, two to be precise). So it’s a process, not an instant gratification kind of bread. But if you’re ok with that, and excited to create your very own, incredibly healthy and delicious sourdough, then here we go:
Sourdough Starter Recipe
To make your starter, you will need:
- 1 cup water
- 1 cup flour (I use spelt, you may use wheat, or rye, but anything else, I'm not really sure about. Kamut would probably work fine as well)
- Use a large, clean jar (canning jars are perfect, but old mayo or pickle jars work great too!). Add water and flour and stir until well mixed. Put up on top of your fridge, or on an out of the way counter (just anywhere that's reasonably warm), and cover with a clean towel.
- Every morning and every night, stir it around until it is well mixed again (it gets clumpy and it tends to separate a bit as well). At around 3-5 days, it will start to get a bit bubbly and smell sour (if it smells rancid, something has gone wrong, and you'll have to start over- to encourage you, I've done this many times over the years and have rarely had a batch that didn't work).
- Store it in the fridge with a tight fitting lid.
Courses Baked Goods
(This recipe comes from the book How It All Vegan)
Now, I enjoy kneading bread, but my hands (I have eczema) don’t enjoy it at all! Especially with sourdough, it seems to really irritate my skin. This weekend I discovered that I could easily adapt the sourdough process to use a breadmaker and save my hands all that irritation! Yippee!
Simple Sourdough Bread Recipe
Yield 2 loaves
To make the bread (this makes 2 loaves), you'll need:
- 5-7 cups flour (the book I got this from says whole wheat pastry flour, but really, use what you want. I really enjoy both spelt, and a spelt or wheat combo with rye, or just wheat).
- 2 1/2 cups water
- 1/2-3/4 cup sourdough starter (I tend towards the 3/4 cups starter, so I add slightly less water)
- 1 tsp salt
- A couple hours before you're ready to start, take your starter out of the fridge, give it a good stir, and let it sit on the counter to come to room temperature (you may notice that it totally separated while in the fridge and looks a strange purple-ish color- once you stir it well, it'll be just fine- really!). In a large bowl, start with 5 cups of flour, the water, starter and salt. Stir well, and slowly add the remaining flour, a bit at a time. Knead dough until smooth and consistent.
- Let the dough sit overnight in a well-oiled glass or ceramic bowl (plastic can interfere with the fermentation process of the starter). Roll the dough around so it's covered lightly in oil, and cover with a cloth. My book says to leave it for 12 hours. I generally make mine before bed, around 9pm, and then knead it in the morning after breakfast, (8:30 or 9), so there's my 12 hours.
- Knead the dough again for 3-5 minutes (you may need to add a little more flour if it's too sticky). Cut it in half, and you can either place them in in lightly oiled pans, or shape into a loaf and use a cookie sheet. Cover and let rise again for 6 more hours (or until desire size). I let mine go until the mid afternoon, just before I start cooking dinner (maybe 3 or 4pm).
- Bake loaves at 425 F for 15 minutes, then reduce heat to 350 and bake for another 45 minutes or until golden brown. Check with a knife to see if done. I find for spelt that I can lower the oven temperature when I first put it in, rather than waiting 15 minutes, otherwise it can get a little too hard, and sometimes I do more like 50-55 minutes. I've changed ovens many times, so it feels like I am always changing my method a little.
- Top up your starter by adding equal parts flour and water to make up for what you used. Mix with well, and leave on the counter for a few hours, then put the lid on and put it back in the fridge.
Courses Baked Goods
1) Add ingredients to your breadmaker on a dough setting, except you will have to cut the recipe in half, as the breadmaker only makes enough dough for one loaf. Seemed that I needed about 3 1/2 – 4 cups using spelt flour. Also, make sure you oil your breadmaker pan before you start, as this will help to prevent too much sticking on the sides. The first time you try it, watch it carefully, and use a spatula to push any sticky dough back down, and just to make sure your liquid/flour ratio is good.
2) When dough finishes, put it in an oiled bowl and let rise, just like Step 2 above.
3) The next morning, put it back in the breadmaker on another dough cycle, but it’s really only necessary to let the machine go for a little while (my dough setting is 1 hour, but I only let it go for about 15 minutes). Use bread pan or cookie sheet as desired, and allow to rise for 6 hours or so.
4) Bake as per Step 4 above. (This photo is before baking)
I actually had two more bread recipes I wanted to share (yeasted breads), but I’ll have to save those for next week!