Country Bread and Sourdough Starter
I am writing this recipe in a way that a seasoned cook will understand. So please bear with me and forward me questions on the cooks cooks forum if you have any. Thanks for all the likes, y’all.
- 1 glass jar or bottle
- wooden spoon to mix the mixture
- cotton cloth or muslin to cover the bottle
- an elastic band
This is the sourdough starter.
I started mine in August of this year. (I couldn’t get any from anyone.) Don’t be intimidated by sourdough.
Ingredients for the starter if you do not have some. (you can get some from someone – starter, get it?)
- 1/4 oz active dry yeast, not quick rise yeast or instant, 1 small pack
- 2 cups warm water,
- 2 cups all – purpose flour
- 1 tbls sugar
- Leave it in a warm place to ferment, 4 to 8 days. Just leave it.
Depending on the temperature and humidity, and the season we are in, it may take 8 -10 days for the starter to be used.
It may take up to 3 weeks in winter.
Check on the starter occasionally.
When the mixture is bubbly and has a pleasant sour smell, it is ready to use. If the mixture has a pink, orange, or any other strange colour to it, discard and start over. You will know.
Once your starter is ready, you’ ll have it for life. Bread tastes better with a starter as opposed to bread made with commercial yeast.
Once a week remove the amount you want to bake. If you are not baking throw 1 cup away and replenish with 1 cup of water, 1 cup of flour and 1 tbls of sugar. It’s that easy.
You can also leave it in the fridge and forget about it. Just make sure that you take it out the day before and restart it with water, flour and sugar so that the bacterias get to party again for the bread making process.
After one day you can remove the starter and use it for baking bread, pancakes, waffles, muffins, pie crust and even biscuits. Instead of yeast, or other rising agents; use the starter.
* A starter can also be made from mixing one cup of water with one cup of flour. Mix it and leave to catch the wild yeast that is floating in the air around us. Treat it and take care of it the same way you would any starter.
Now for the bread.
I call it my country loaf. It’s crusty on the outside and soft in the inside. You can form it whichever way you want. There is no right or wrong way to do it.
Trick – melted butter brushed on the dough 5′ before taking out of the oven makes the crust softer.
And, salt water brushed on the dough 5′ before taking it out of the oven makes the crust harder.
To make this bread I used the bread machine, and let the dough rise overnight because I used a starter.
If you are using yeast you can bake immediately.
I confess. I like using my bread machine for kneading because it works well and because I am cursed with tiny wrists.
The order the ingredients go into the bread machine.
The wet ingredients first, followed by the dry ingredients – that’s how my machine works. Follow the instructions on yours.
In bread machine order:
- ½ cup starter
- 2 cups warm water (15 seconds in the microwave)
- ½ cup milk powder (can be omitted) (I omit it)
- 3 tsp salt
- 3 tbls sugar
- 3 tbls butter
- 4-6 cups flour
- if you do not have starter you can add 2-3 tsp yeast on top of the flour at this stage.
- Switch on the machine to knead and rise cycle only. Look into the machine and add more flour until the dough comes together and forms a dough. When you touch the dough, it is supposed to spring back.
- Take the dough out after the rising is done.
- With oiled hands punch, push and pull the dough for a few minutes.
- Divide it into four pieces with a sharp knife. Form into four balls.
- Get a 3 inch by 10 inch round mould or something along that size and grease it well.
- Drop all four balls into the mould. It can only go into the oven when it is 1 inch above the rim of the mould. So be patient and eat something else.
- Slash the balls, 3 times with a sharp knife.
- Cover it with a kitchen towel and let it rise. Go way and leave it alone. It will do its’ thing.
If you are using a starter you WILL have to let the dough rise overnight. You have to.
You will bake it in the morning.
If you have used yeast, the dough should have doubled in bulk in about 2-4 hours, and you can bake it.
Bake it in the oven at 230 degree C for 10’ until the dough rises and the crust forms to a dark brown.
Reduce to 180 degree C and bake for the remaining 35’. (total of 45’)
The bread will slide out easily, slide it out and let it rest for 2 hours if you have used starter. It tastes great. Knock on it and it should sound hollow.
Enjoy the homemade goodness of bread.