Homemade Sourdough Bread
|1 1/2 c||distilled water, warmed to 100°|
|1 1/2 c||all purpose flour (not self-rising)|
|1||clean ceramic crock or non-metal container with loose-fitting lid|
|a mayonnaise jar works well; punch small holes in lid for air.|
|TO MAKE BREAD FROM THE STARTER|
|2 c||active sourdough starter|
|3 c||(approximate) unbleached flour|
|2 Tbsp||oil or melted butter|
|1 1/2 tsp||salt|
I have been studying yeasts and bacteria in Microbiology class, and researched the history and microbiology of Sourdough Bread. It has a very interesting story, and the concept actually goes back to ancient Egypt, when flour and water were allowed to ferment before baking, as it made the wheat more tender and imparted a flavor to it.
This recipe I put together after reading literally dozens of recipes on the subject, most of which use packaged yeast in the starter, the bread, or both. But the science says it can be done without adding yeast, and this recipe bears that out.
Blend the warm water and flour in the clean crock; don't worry about a few lumps. Cover loosely and store at room temperature (70-75°). Some people keep theirs on top of the refrigerator.
Discard 1 cup of the mixture and stir in 1/2 cup flour and 1/2 cup warm water. Cover loosely and store at room temperature as described above. Feed the starter every 24 hours, this is very important!
Place 2 cups of the starter into a large mixing bowl (stand mixer with dough hook works best - do not try this in a bread machine). Feed the remaining starter with 1 cup warm water and 1 cup flour and replace in refrigerator.
I use distilled water for my starter and for feeding it, because it is pure water and has nothing in it that might affect the action of the yeast and bacteria.
You don't have to discard the starter you remove each time you feed it; instead, use it as a base for pancakes, muffins, biscuits, or other breads or even cakes.