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I made my first two (successful) loaves of sourdough bread Monday and they turned out great! I have tried to make my own sourdough starter before and make bread…well, the bread turned out more like bricks! I don’t think my sourdough starter was working very well.
So I decided to try it again. This time I sent for some free sourdough starter. This link will take you to a PDF file that explains how you can send away for some free starter. It comes in a little ziplock…a dried starter. You easily dissolve some in a bit of warm water, then start adding your whole wheat flour and warm water to feed it. [UPDATE: This link no longer works. See comment below for a link to some great directions to make your own starter. I will try to do a post soon with some good places you can buy starter.]
I am just learning how to feed my starter and how to use sourdough in baking. You really do have to change your mindset, though. This batch of bread I made I started the process on Sunday morning. I got my sourdough starter out of the refrigerator and fed it 1 cup of whole wheat flour and 1 cup of warm filtered water. I stirred it up and let it sit on top of my freezer all day (in the warm spot).
By Sunday evening it was all bubbly and ready to use. I then mixed up my bread dough using 2 cups of the starter (I’ll have to share my recipe later after I have had a bit more experience with it). Once the bread dough was mixed and properly kneaded, I put it in a big greased glass bowl and covered it with plastic wrap. I let the bowl sit out on the counter until about 9:00 a.m. Monday morning (yes, it did take about 24 hours for the bread to double in size).
About 9:00 a.m., I divided the dough into 2 lumps and shaped them into loaves and put them in 2 greased bread pans. I set them in a warm oven (I just turn the oven on for a bit to warm it up, then turn it off, but leave the light on) with a clean dish towel over them. It took until about noon or so before they were ready to bake. I think I should have let them raise more though, but they were still good.
We sliced the bread after they had cooled a bit and tried it. It was really good…and soft. I am anxious to try more recipes using sourdough and hopefully convert all my bread baking to using sourdough. We’ll see!
If you are interested, why not send away for some free starter? If you are experienced at baking with sourdough, I’d love for you to share some recipes with us! Have fun!