Friday, April 13, 2012

Wild Yeast Sourdough Bread

I love old cook books and I am a sucker for those little cook books with all the old fashioned recipes.  My mom gave me one last year for Christmas that has a bunch of pioneer recipes along with food lore!! 
This recipe for wild yeast sourdough bread is wonderful.  I made it once before and it was so good.  My husband and I ate one entire loaf ourselves while it was still warm.  I was hungry for a loaf again so I began to make my starter.  The only thing is it takes a few days to get it going before you can taste that yummy bread. 
The pioneers made and shared their own starters.  They did not add yeast to their bread.  You don't have to add yeast either if you wait long enough and have a real good starter. This bread takes all day to make properly without adding yeast.

To start the sour dough:
4 cups flour
4 cups warm water (don not use chlorinated water)
3 Tablespoons of sugar. 
Combine and beat with a wooden spoon until smooth.  Place in crockery bowl and cover, let stand in a warm place about 48 hours until sour and bubbly. (I just used a glass bowl that I had)

After 24 hours.  You can see some bubbles starting to form.

Here is a side view of the pan.  You can see the water start to
separate out  from the flour as it begins to ferment.

After 48 hours the starter is nice and bubbly.  When you take off the Saran wrap
it smells nice and sour.

You can see the water mixed back in as it fermented and created more gas bubbles.

1 cup starer
1 cup warm water
1 Tablespoon sugar
2 cups flour
1 teaspoon of yeast (optional)
Stir batter until no lumps remain.  Let sit for about 4 hours or overnight.

I mixed up my sponge in this container.  I did add 1 teaspoon of yeast because I had wanted to make bread that day.  But after I got it mixed up and realized how late it was I decided to just let it sit overnight.  So I really didn't need to add the yeast to it.

I put the rest of the starter in a plastic container and covered it and put it in the fridge.
I decided not to replenish it.  I can get 3 more batches of bread just out of this starter mix.

Here is my sponge.  I let it sit overnight. 

Add to sponge 1 cup warm water, 1 teaspoon yeast (optional), 3 teaspoon salt and enough flour to make a soft dough.  Knead 10 minutes or until it's elastic.  Let rise until double in bulk at room temperature.  Shape into 2 or 3 oblong or round loaves and let rise until double in bulk on a bread board sprinkled with cornmeal.  (Dust top with flour and cover with two kitchen towels) When ready to bake, preheat oven to 375 degrees Fahrenheit and place a shallow pan of water on the bottom shelf.   Slash bread 1/4 inch deep, however you like, to allow for expansion.  Bake until brown on a greased cookie sheet, or ideally on a bread stone.  If you use a baking stone, put it on the bottom shelf in the oven and your pan of water on the top shelf.  Allow bread to cool before you slice it, if you can stand to wait that long!!

Here is my bread dough made up.  It took about 4 cups of additional flour to get a nice soft dough.
I did not add yeast to it.  I mixed it up around 8:30 in the morning.  I had to go away so I left it rise.

I got back home around 2:00pm and found a nicely raised bread dough!!

I shaped into two oblong loaves of bread.  I just put mine directly on the cookie sheets.
I dusted the tops with flour and covered with a towel and let rise.  I had to go away.

I got back home at 6:30pm and found my loaves beautifully risen!!

I made diagonal slashes in them and got my oven ready.
I put water in a cake pan on the bottom. And put my bread in the
middle of the oven.

It took about 30 minutes for them to bake to a nice golden brown.
They sound hollow when tapped on.

We waited as long as we could before we sliced into a loaf.
Look at the wonderful spongy texture.  Oh it tastes so yummy.
One loaf is already gone and I just took it out of the oven an hour ago!!

Like the recipe states.  If you have the time to let it rise you really don't need to add any yeast.  It works out great if you are going to be home all day doing other things.  To make it without the yeast it truly does take all day to make but it is worth it.  Yum!!!
To replenish starter after each use:
1 cup of flour
1 cup warm water
1 teaspoon sugar
Shake well and let it stay at room temperature for 6 hours.  Then refrigerate and use within 2 weeks.

Food Lore from 1883
To make a good bread, always be up in the morning early, just at the peep of day.

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Ruth said...

I love sourdough! There is so much more you can make with it than just bread, too - pancakes, waffles, pizza crust, tortillas - my new favorite is raisin bread. You can find my recipes here:

Happy baking!

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The Freemans said...

Looks like a really good and easy recipe. I have been looking for a sour dough recipe and starter. Never have made either. Thanks!