**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 love my sourdough starter! I'm getting so much better with it. And, unfortunately, quite lazy with it as well.
We all really prefer a dough with half white half, half
wheat flour in it. The first few sourdoughs I made with only freshly ground grain I managed to get away with. But everyone started complaining after awhile that it was too heavy. So I decided a compromise was in order. So I went back to the half white, half freshly ground wheat, but no yeast or sugar. And we're all very happy.
And the ease and convenience is truly amazing this way as well.
Here is what I do to make sourdough anything these days.
I figure out what I'm going to make and approximately how much flour will be needed:
Bread: 6 cups
Pizza Dough: 3.5 cups
Monkey Bread: 4 cups
Pancakes: 2 cups
8 Large Hamburger buns: 5 cups
After that, I take out enough of my sourdough starter to equal half of the necessary flour (or a little more sometimes-esp with pancakes and monkey bread), I put it into my Kitchen aid, and then I add:
1 to 2 tsp celtic sea salt
2 Tbls EVVO
2 Tbls honey
I mix these all up really good in the kitchen aid, and then I add the rest of the all-purpose flour. I mix it again and start adding either kefir, water or milk slowly to the kitchen aid as it mixes everything together. Once I get to the right consistency, I mix it a little more, turn it onto a floured surface and knead it for 8 to 10 minutes.
I find it generally takes about 4 hours to rise to where I want it, sometimes more or less.
For the pizza dough, I roll it out right away and cover it and let it sit for at least 4 hours. And then I put the necessary toppings on it and cook it. Sourdough crusts take longer to cook, so I generally cook it for 30 minutes at 350 and it's been perfect.
For the pancakes, I put in 1.5 cups of sourdough starter and then I add 1/2 tsp of baking powder (not exactly sure why actually), and maybe half a cup of all purpose flour, and then add an egg, honey, EVVO and enough milk to make it runny, as we prefer our pancakes on the thinner side.
For the Monkey bread and regular bread loaf, once I've kneaded it, I follow the other recipes I posted here.
For the Hamburger Buns, I just divided them into 8 balls, squished them down some, and let them rise separately. They baked for 15-18 minutes on 350. Yum!!! You could easily do hamburger buns in an oval shape, or smaller buns-these were quite large.
I will admit that it's not 'gourmet' bread. It's simple, plain, mostly nourishing and VERY do-able for every day. I'm sure if I were to work with it, I could make it do some amazing things. But for now, I'm very happy with my sourdough breads. I use freshly ground grains that get soaked properly, and then add organic all purpose flour. We love the texture and taste, and it's so, very, very easy to do!
Oh, and I feed my starter 1 cup of water and freshly ground organic red wheat berries every day. It sits on my counter covered with a towel. I change the bowl every 2 days or when it's getting really crusty.
Once, my hubby accidentally left it on the oven, with the oven turned on high for a long time. I thought I had lost it. But I took a cup of it, and added water and fresh flour every day, and after 4 days, it was viable again. Woo hoo!
And I had mold on it last week, which I scooped off. Truthfully, while I've read that it's not something to worry about, I did only take 2 tablespoons of it from the very bottom of the bowl, which I put into a new bowl and fed for a few days. No problem!
My starter and I have become buddies. We work together and are quite happy with one another. Hay, I can say that, it's a living organism!