I’ve been working on my Sourdough, all the live-long day!


No, my name’s not Dinah and there’s no one else in my kitchen 🙂

However, I have been tending to my sourdough starter daily, trying to achieve that characteristic tangy taste. I started this starter from scratch only about two weeks ago (I’ve read of some that have been in existence for 150 years or more!). Each day, I remove a couple of cups of batter and replace it with fresh water and flour. In the beginning, it mostly smelled yeasty, but now it’s getting a bit sourer daily. I’ve also increased the volume and hence had to move it to a larger container since the old one kept bubbling over.
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So, what to do with the cast-off batter? How about a nice stack of pancakes which I made following this recipe:

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The two cups of batter made 10 pancakes. So light and fluffy and very tasty 🙂

Now that the starter is developing some flavor, I decided to make some more bread. This time, utilizing two different styles of recipe. The first recipe, called Sourdough Bread III from All Recipes, used quite a lot of starter (1-1/2 cups) plus normal yeast and yielded a quite nice looking boule.

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It had a firm texture which sliced very well and will surely be a part of some yummy sandwiches soon:
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The second recipe, Sourdough Bread I from the same site, used only 1 cup of starter and no yeast. It also took a very long time to rise/proof – about 4 hours for the first rise, then I formed a nice looking batard and left it to rise overnight. When it came from the oven this morning, my wife kidded that it looked like I was cheating and had gone out and purchased this one!
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She was right, this is the best sourdough bread I’ve ever made and one of the best I’ve ever tasted 🙂

Sponge it up!


Sourdough bread is made by replacing [at least part of] the yeast with a culture, also known as the sourdough starter or sometimes “the mother.” I made this starter on Friday using this very simple recipe:

2 cups all purpose flour
2-1/4 tsp dry yeast (one packet)
2 cups warm water

This was placed in a large bowl and stored in a warm spot while it bubbles away. I put mine on top of the refrigerator. Note: make sure your bowl/vessel is big enough as the culture will expand quite a lot in the early stages. After a day or so it should be moved into the refrigerator until ready to use. Mine now looks like this:
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The next step for sourdough bread is to make a sponge using the starter. Again a pretty simple recipe:

1 cup sourdough starter
2-1/2 cups all purpose flour
2 cups warm water

Mix well in a large bowl and place in a warm spot and leave for at least 12 hours. Here’s what mine looks like, ready to make the bread today (Sunday):

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Look at all of those bubbles! To create the final dough, add these to the sponge:

1 pkg active yeast (2-1.4 tsp)
1 cup warm water
1/2 Tbsp sugar

Mix the yeast first in a separate container and let it dissolve fully. Then add

4 cups all purpose flour
1-1/2 Tbsp sugar
2 Tbsp butter or shortening
1/4 tsp baking soda

Mix it all together and you’ll end up with a fairly loose/sticky dough:

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I had to work in another 1/2 cup of flour to make it smooth and elastic.
Here’s what it looked like after the first rise of around one hour:
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And the final product – two large boules – quite tasty, but I think it could use a bit more salt 🙂

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