Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Sourdough Fun

**update 11/7/09 I've been using this recipe lately.  We like it for toast, crumbs, croutons, etc, but not for sandwich bread. I compromise on the 2nd rise by only doing it for a few hours.  It's not perfect, but a compromise I'm happy with for now. What I esp love is that the stuff does not go bad.  I've kept it for 3 weeks and it's been the same as when I first made it.**

I am so excited! I have wanted to try making sourdough since I found NT a year ago. But, it was a lot of work with very little guarantees. Luckily, I have been making bread for 2 years, so the transition to sourdough would not be as difficult as it could have been. But I was still too intimidated to try it.

When I was looking through the orgjunkie's Meal Plan Mondays, I found this simple tutorial for making sourdough. It was too easy not to try! If it didn't turn out, I figured all I was out was some flour and water and time.

Well, in 7 days, I had an obviously viable starter culture, so I made my first loaf of bread. We loved it! Well, Drew loved it and the rest of us liked it. The kids and I don't like sourdough bread, but we're learning to like it. :)

Here is a picture of my first 'baby'. :) I'm still proud of it! :) Obviously I'm not a professional food photographer. But I think it's beautiful.

And I've learned so much since then. I've read every book on bread that I could get my hands on, as well as websites and blogs. I feel I have a decent 'working knowledge' of sourdough now, which makes it more fun and less scary to work with!

Today I made monkey bread with it. And boy was it yummy!! I had found a recipe here (same blog as the starter tutorial was on-great blog!) for monkey bread and thought I could try making it with my sourdough recipe. Man was I right! It turned out great! Definitely healthier then your average monkey bread recipe, but somehow, not lacking none the less. Esp since it means we can consume it regularly without guilt. It's just as healthy as toast with butter and cinnamon and sugar-which we have often. Granted, it's still 'sweet'. But, delicious!!

First, I'll put down my recipe for the regular sourdough bread. It's our everyday bread. Not 100% perfect, but we enjoy it. We always eat it toasted. I'm not sure if it's light enough for a regular sandwich. We have yet to try it. But we have not gone out much as it's too cold, so picnic sandwiches have not been necessary. I started out with the recipe from the starter tutorial, with just starter, flour, salt and water. And it's not bad. But we prefer it softer and a little sweeter. So I came up with this recipe:

Sourdough Bread Recipe (makes one loaf)


1 cup sourdough starter
2 cups whole wheat flour (I generally grind mine when I use it-I use organic hard red wheat berries from WFM, which I grind in my Vita-Mix)
2+ cups all purpose flour
2 cups water
2 tsp celtic sea salt
2 Tbls honey
2 Tbls EVVO


Put the starter and flour in a bowl.

In a separate glass container, melt the honey (if necessary) and add the salt, honey and EVVO and mix well. Then pour into the flour bowl.

Mix with a wooden spoon until too hard to stir and then turn onto a floured counter and kneed for 8-10 minutes. Add water or flour as necessary.

Cover and let it sit on the counter for 8-24 hours. This breaks down the phyates and makes the nutrients from the freshly ground grain available to your body. It usually doubles in size during that time.

About 4 hours before you want to bake it, knead it again for 5 minutes, cut in half and roll each half into a ball. Put in a buttered loaf pan and cover for 4 hours. Bake at 350 degrees for 1 hour. Let it cool on a rack so the crust does not get soggy.

Serve with lots of butter.

I'm not sure if you could just do the first rise in the pan and not do the 2nd knead. I will try that sometime and post my results.

I also prefer the bread with an egg in it, but it's so hard to knead into the dough after it's been kneaded already, and I'm not sure if it's ok to leave it out on the counter for so long. It tastes fine without it.

Monkey Bread Recipe:

Follow the same directions as above, except when you're ready to shape it, bread the dough into small pieces and roll into balls. Then melt 1/2 stick of butter and put some cinnamon and sugar into another bowl (1/4 cup of sugar, 1TBLS cinnamon is what I used). Dip the balls in the melted butter and then roll in the cinnamon and sugar.

Press them all into a loaf pan and bake for 30 minutes at 350 degrees.

Serve with a tall glass of raw milk. Yum!!!!! Dip the 'dough balls' in melted butter.

My cute little helper-mostly eating the cinnamon and sugar mixture

Ready to 'rise' for a few hours

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