Is sour dough bread as hard as everyone makes it out to be?

By June 14, 2020 2 Comments

One of the boats I have gotten to know here in St Lucia during this pandemic gave me a sour dough bread starter (think liquid yeast) and told me that it was started more than 200 years ago in northern Italy. It has traveled Italy, France, and Basque country in Spain before his children got it in Iceland. They ended up giving him some and he brought it to the Caribbean. I loved the history of it, but I have never even studied sour dough so I was a bit perplexed how to deal with it. Thanks to the internet I was even more confused because they made it out like it was a really complicated process. Slowly though I gathered info and compiled it into my own document. After a couple tries I can tell you it is actually quite easy…….and SO worth it!

To make a loaf every couple days simply take your starter out of the fridge and let it warm up to room temperature. At this point you need to measure out 3 tablespoons and set it aside. Now we can use the rest of the starter in our bread with the following recipe:

Sourdough Bread Recipe
• 3 1/2 cups flour
• 1 1/4 cups warm water
• 3/4 cup active sourdough starter
• 1 Tbsp honey
• 1 1/2 tsp salt

-Mix all ingredients together just until combined and then let sit for 15 minutes.
-Knead for 8 to 10 minutes by hand. (It should be tacky, but not cling to your finger.)
-Transfer to a medium-sized bowl that is lightly coated with oil. Cover and let rise for 5 hours, turning and folding the dough every hour.
-Shape the dough into a ball using lots of flour and set on greased cookie sheet.
-Let dough sit for 45 minutes and then slash the top 2-3 times.
-Bake for 30 minutes at 450 degrees and then cool on rack for 30 minutes.

It comes out so tasty that I have eaten a third of the loaf each time it came out of the oven.

Now lets deal with the maintenance of the starter. Anything left in the jar can be cleaned out and thrown out or kept as “discard” to make an even more potent bread, pizza crust, muffins, etc when you collect enough in a separate jar. In the original cleaned out jar you are going to add:

• 3 Tbsp of starter you set aside earlier
• 2/3 cup flour
• 1/2 cup water

-Stir it all together and put back in the fridge with a loosened lid.

That is it. It is really that simple. Just remember to set the 3 tablespoons of starter aside before you use the starter for anything and use that to “feed” the new starter. I have even taken some extra I had and dried 3 tablespoons of it to vacuum seal it as a back up in case I lose the main starter or after I get back from the off season. Of course I could not leave it to just having a new sour dough bread recipe. I had to try an experiment. 🙂 Instead of making sour dough one day I tried to turn it into an Amish Friendship Bread……and it worked. 🙂

Friendship Bread Recipe
• 1 cup starter
• 3 eggs
• 1 cup oil
• 1/2 cup milk
• 1 cup sugar
• 1/2 teaspoon vanilla
• 2 teaspoons cinnamon
• 1 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
• 1/2 teaspoon salt
• 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
• 2 cups flour
• 1 cup raisins or cranberries
-Bake at 325 degrees for 1 hour in two loaf pans.

This is what happens if you do not fold and turn it every hour. I went off snorkeling and came back to it escaping the bowl and lid. Haha


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