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Ready for some butter and jam

This is the easiest sourdough bread I’ve ever made. Even though making and keeping the starter sounds complicated at first, it’s really pretty easy. Most sourdoughs are made with flour and water and are thicker than pancake batter, but this one is a liquid. This light, sweet bread has become one of our favorites. It makes good rolls too.

If you don’t know someone who can give you some starter, you can try making some starter using store bought yeast. As it works, the wild yeast will (hopefully) replace the store bought yeast until you have a colony of wild yeast. It might take more than one try to catch the elusive “wild yeast” though.

To make a starter beginning with store bought yeast:

Boil water to sterilize a quart jar, lid, a measuring cup and a spoon. Punch holes in the lid of the jar. Add:
1/2 cup lukewarm water
1/4 cup sugar
1 tsp. dry yeast
1 1/2 TBSP instant potato flakes

Leave your newly created starter at room temperature for two days then feed it again without adding any more store bought yeast. If it is active and you can see some bubbling, you can refrigerate. Each time you use your starter, feed it. I usually put it into a new sterilized jar each time I feed it.

I usually keep about two to three cups of starter in the refrigerator. I keep some boiled water in the refrigerator ready to use. Boiling the water prevents any bad bacteria from growing in the starter. I’ve had bacteria ruin some of my sourdough starters before, so I’m extra careful now. I try to use/feed mine at least every five days. You can feed/ use it sooner.

Feed 1 cup active starter with:
1 cup water
1 cup sugar
3 TBSPs potato flakes

I leave it sitting out at room temperature until it is foamy on top then I refrigerate.

You can use the starter right out of the refrigerator if you have enough made, or if you need to make extra loaves of bread you can take your starter out of the refrigerator early in the morning and feed it and leave it out all day. It should be ready to use by bedtime. When it’s ready to use it should look sludgy and will have bubbles rising to the top with a slightly fruity/alcoholic smell. I usually start making bread at night before I go to bed then make it into loaves the next morning. After about 3 hrs hours rising in the loaf pans, it’s ready to bake.

Potato Flake Sourdough Bread
Makes two large loaves
See the light whole wheat version below.

1 cup active potato flake starter (can be cold or room temperature)
1 1/2 c lukewarm water (not hot)
1/4 cup sugar
1 1/2 tsp. salt
6 TBSP oil
About 6 cups bread flour (Occident flour is the best to use if you can find it!)

Variation: You can use 2 cups of whole wheat flour instead of all bread flour. It makes a delicious light whole wheat version. This is how I make it now. I like to use King Arthur Whole Wheat flour.

In a large bowl, mix together the starter, water, salt, sugar and oil, then add flour. Add enough flour so dough is not sticky. After kneading, pour a little extra oil into the bowl and turn dough to coat well with oil. Cover with a towel and rise overnight. In the morning the dough should be more than doubled. Spray bread pans with Pam. Knead dough. You want it to stick to itself but not to your hands. Brush with water if the dough will not stick to itself or add more flour if it is still too sticky. Flatten into a rectangle pressing out the big air bubbles, brushing with water if necessary so it will stick together when folded in half. Pinch the seam together than repeat. Roll it gently to shape it. Place the seam side down in loaf pan. Rise loaves 3-4 hours. Bake at 350 for 25-30 minutes. I put a cookie sheet on the top shelf to keep the top from getting too brown.

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amishfrbread

I was given a starter for Amish Friendship bread by a friend. It takes ten days from the time you get the 1 cup of starter until you can make the bread.  On day 6, you  add a cup of flour, sugar and milk to the starter.   On day 10, you use the finished starter in your recipe and replenish 1 cup of the starter with a cup of milk, sugar and flour to keep it working. It makes a sweet cinnamon bread that is addictive and delicious.

I  looked in Joy of Cooking about making sourdough bread and the recipe it has was very similar to the starter recipe I have except it calls for adding less sugar–1/2 cup  instead of 1 cup sugar. I  am in the process of making two loaves of sourdough french bread using the starter I have.  My Amish starter has more sugar, so I hope it will still work well for the french sourdough bread.  It has to rise overnight and then I’ll add the rest of the ingredients and  finish making the loaves tomorrow.

I thought it was odd that the Amish bread also calls for baking powder and baking soda and does not have it rise after adding the starter like you do with yeast bread. It goes right into the oven after mixing. It seemed sort of unnecessary to have the starter in  it.

Edited to add, I’ve since discovered that the starter since it is acidic is sometimes used in  recipes  like buttermilk.

Does anyone here have experience with making sourdough bread? If so, do you have any pointers to offer?

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