Love sometimes makes you do crazy things. Like making a corner of your kitchen smell like someone poured a beer over a pair of old running shoes. On purpose.
My husband’s sandwich bread of choice is sourdough. I’m pretty fond of it myself – the tangy loaf can make any sandwich better. It’s also the only bread that we’re still buying at the store because, well… when it comes to sourdough, I suck. I am a sourdough killer.
And since we’re confessing, I’ve never owned a house plant for more than 3 weeks either… (and I think I just heard the bell pepper plants in my garden wail).
I’m an instant grat kind of girl but I’ll suffer through an overnight rise for something tasty. I like “regular” yeast – you know, the kind that comes in a packet. The kind that you can mix with warm water, wait 10 minutes, and get on with things. The kind that lets me whip up a fresh loaf of bread the same day.
But sourdough is… different. The starter is needy (really needy at first). Like a house plant. Or a child. Neither of which we have at the moment. (I hear your sighs of relief!) And the “bonus:” it down right stinks.
I’m being dramatic. The starter itself was quite easy to make. It sat on my counter for a stinky two weeks, getting fed daily. Then into the fridge it went, coming out every 1-2 weeks for feeding. And then it made fantastic sourdough bread.
For the record, my starter is still alive. After 5 months. Perhaps we have house plants in our future after all!
One of our favorites: tangy sourdough bread.
- 1 cup "fed" sourdough starter
- 1 1/2 cups lukewarm water
- 5 cups flour
- 1 Tbsp sugar
- 2 1/4 tsp salt
- Combine the fed starter, water, and 3 cups of the flour. Beat vigorously. Cover, and let rest at room temperature for 4 hours. Refrigerate overnight, for about 12 hours.
- Add the remaining ingredients, kneading to form a smooth dough. Allow the dough to rise in a covered bowl until it's relaxed, smoothed out, and risen a bit. Depending on the vigor of your starter, it may become REALLY puffy, or it may just rise a bit.
- Gently divide the dough in half, shape the dough into two loaves (or make rolls or buns), and place them on a lightly greased or parchment-lined baking sheet. Cover and let rise until very puffy, about 2 to 4 hours. With about 45 minutes of rising left to go, preheat the oven to 425.
- Spray the loaves with lukewarm water. Make two fairly deep horizontal slashes in each with a sharp knife or blade.
- Bake the bread for 25 to 30 minutes, until it's a very deep golden brown. Remove it form the oven, and cool on a rack.
Yields: 1 loaf
Estimated time: 16 hours