Wednesday, February 13, 2008

sourdough, round 01.

Our experiments with bread baking have of course led us to sourdough. We tried a few times to create our own wild starter in the fall, but it didn't work out for us (we plan to try again in spring). So, we bought a sourdough starter and baked our first loaves.

We were encouraged to take our sourdough slowly. It was recommended that when first using it, bakers start with a sourdough recipe which includes yeast. This will help introduce you to the sourdough process, doesn't take quite as long, gives a lighter loaf, and yet still has that good sourdough flavor. This is our beginners loaf. It turned out great - good flavor, not too dense!

Sourdough Bread with Yeast

1 cup (9oz) "fed"sourdough starter (meaning ready to go starter)
1½ cup (12oz) lukewarm water
1 Tbsp sugar
2 tsp (or packet) active dry yeast
5½ cup (to 6 cups) flour (I used organic whole wheat--you can also use bread flour)
1 Tbsp salt
1 Tbsp Vegetable oil (I used coconut oil)
cornmeal to sprinkle on baking pans


Combine all of the ingredients, using only 5 cups of the flour. Using your hands or a bread machine (dough cycle), knead until you form a smooth soft dough. Add additional flour as needed while you knead. Put dough in an oiled bowl. Cover and let rise until doubled, about an hour.

Divide the dough and shape into two loaves. I did one oval loaf and one loaf in a bread pan. Put the loaves into an oiled, cornmeal sprinkled baking sheet or bread pan. Cover again, and let rise another hour - until doubled. Pre-heat oven to 450ºF.

Slash the top of the loaves and bake in your pre-heated oven at 450ºF for about 20 minutes. Remove from the oven and cool on a rack before slicing.

Sourdough doesn't brown much, so to make the loaf have that nice golden color, brush the loaves lightly with vegetable oil (I used coconut oil) about half way into the baking time.

ingredient tip:
If you would like to make your own wild starter, then read this or this.

Prefer buying one? Here is the one we are using...or see here...or here...

Beyond using yeast with the starter and want a good sourdough recipe? Try here.

This is our first round - I'll be posting on this topic again when we move on to the classic sourdough recipe.


Will & Kate said...

Just curious why you chose coconut oil for your recipe. Isn't that supposed to be one of the least healthy oils out there? (perhaps more saturated fat in it?)

Is there a flavor reason?

denise said...

I think that is one of the controversies about coconut oil! I use organic, very high quality coconut oil.

Some info:

NATURAL coconut oil-not the hydrogenated version often found in processed foods-is a saturated fat, but not the kind your doctor has warned you about. Studies have shown that this uniquely curative oil actually has innumerable health benefits.

Lauric Acid (found in coconut oil) is necessary for good health says Dr. Mary Enig, a Ph.D. nutritionist/biochemist and one of the world’s leading authorities on fats and oils. She states, “Approximately 50% of the fatty acids in coconut fat are lauric acid. Lauric acid is a medium chain fatty acid, which has the additional beneficial function of being formed into monolaurin in the human or animal body. Monolaurin is the antiviral, antibacterial, and antiprotozoal monoglyceride used by the human or animal to destroy lipid coated viruses such as HIV, herpes, cytomegalovirus, influenza, various pathogenic bacteria including listeria monocytogenes and heliobacter pylori, and protozoa such as giardia lamblia."

We generally stay away from the uber processed oils like any hydrogenated oils, soy, corn, safflower, canola oil, etc.

and instead use

coconut, palm, sesame, olive oil, flax (cold pressed, organic, high quality).

Hope that makes sense! :)

Will & Kate said...

interesting... (and yes, I'm about 4.5 months away from a PhD myself in cell biology, so it made sense. ;o)

Lisa Anne said...

I have made sourdough bread for about 9 years now, I recently discovered an intolerance to wheat so I can't eat it anymore, but I still bake for my family and some lucky friends who I barter our homemade bread, yogurt, and raw milk in exchange for art and cello lessons for Amelia. I think as you delve more into the process you will enjoy it more and more. When I first made my starter, I used the recipe from LaBrea Bread Book, it took two weeks+ to ferment and lots of babying, at that time I was a baker for a restaurant and I would take it home with me every night to feed it and keep it warm. I would wrap it in a wool sweater and put safely in my backpack for the bike ride home from work, that starter made a great bread, now I use Daniel Leader's Method, very simple to make, I have had this starter for 4 years, I never add yeast. I love my coconut oil, too! nice to meet you.

denise said...

Lisa Anne - I am moving to the next step which is no yeast...a true sourdough. Can't wait to taste it!

Poppy & Mei said...

Now ya know this blog is every bit as good as your other & now I'm addicted to both! Xxx
PS. The word verifaction for this comment was 'nakey' hahahahahaha!

AIMEE said...

ohhhh i can't wait to make some sourdough...on the list for next week!