About me...

Pop the lid on my Mason Jar and meet my family. Jim {Jimma} and I have four kids, Creston (Ashley), Jami (Matt), Brandon and Chance. Our grandkids, Cade, Kirby, Eisley, Beck and Reed bring us more joy than any Mason Jar could ever hold. I am counting my blessings over and over and thanking God for His amazing love and grace.

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Sourdough Bread Recipe - Yummy!

My adventure with baking bread started 24 years ago, shortly after Chance was born. My cousin gave me some bread starter and the recipe to go with it. I always said that Sherry’s bread had to be the easiest bread you could make. If I could keep the “starter” going and bake bread with a colicky baby and three older kids in the house, anybody could. I baked the bread for several years, grew tired of baking it and let my starter die.

I always managed to find someone willing to share their starter with me and baked bread off and on through the years. Two years ago I thought it’d be fun to bake the bread again, only I couldn’t find anyone with the starter. I experimented with several starter recipes, trying diligently to get one going with no success. Last summer a friend happened upon a starter recipe that I had never tried, along with the bread recipe in a craft magazine. Since the bread recipe was the same as the one I used to make, I gave the starter recipe a try and it worked! I was thrilled knowing if I lost my starter or decided to stop baking for a while, I could always get it going again.

Since then I have given “starters” to several of the young mothers at church. They’ve all been impressed over the ease of the recipe and are now making “bread” memories with their little ones. For anyone interested in baking bread, this is the perfect recipe. All the steps are done according to when you have time to do them. Even if you’re new at kneading dough, this recipe is very forgiving and will be a perfect beginner’s recipe for you. Very little kneading is required, making it that much easier.

The recipe might seem a little overwhelming, but once you read through it and make your first batch, you’ll be pleasantly surprised how easy and fun it is to make. Each batch of dough makes three loaves of bread and can be used for anything that you use store-bought bread for. We’ve enjoyed French toast, cinnamon toast, grilled cheese, garlic toast, buttered bread with jelly, PB&J and barbecued chicken sandwiches made with the bread. A friend made a bread bowl with hers and filled it with a thick cheddar potato soup.

To begin the process, you’ll need to get a “starter” going. I learned that the secret to success with your starter is to feed it three times before making bread. You’ll need to pour any starter in excess of 1 and 1/4 to 1 and 1/3 cup off the first three times.

Important notes before starting:
*Other than the bread pans you use to bake in, don’t use any metal spoons or containers with the recipe.
*Bread flour can be found in the flour section of your grocery store.
*To make wheat bread, use 1 cup of whole wheat flour and 5 cups of bread flour.
*Shiny aluminum bread pans bake up best. I found mine at a Dollar Tree!

Starter Recipe
3 packages of active dry yeast
1 cup warm water (105-115 degrees Fahrenheit)

Mix the yeast and the warm water in a small bowl. Put into a plastic container, seal and refrigerate for 3 to 5 days.

Starter Feed
3/4 cup sugar
3 Tbsp. instant potatoes
1 cup warm water -105-115 degrees Fahrenheit
Combine the sugar, potatoes and water in a small bowl. Stir and add to the starter. Put in a container with a hole in the lid so it can breathe. (I use a plastic pitcher with the lid popped up and cover it with cheesecloth.) Let stand at room temperature 8-12 hours. The mixture will be bubbly. Stir the starter and take out one cup to make the bread . Refrigerate the remaining starter. Feed again after 3 -5 days. If not making bread after feeding the starter, throw away 1 cup to avoid depleting the starter.

Sour Dough Bread
Simply put - Dump in large plastic bowl:
6 cups Bread Flour
1/4 cup sugar
1 Tablespoon salt
Stir and form a well in the center. Pour in:
1 cup starter
½ cup corn oil
1 ½ cup warm water
Mix with hands until well blended. Place in large greased plastic bowl. Spray top of dough with Pam. Cover with wax paper or freezer wrap and a clean dish towel. Let sit all day or all night, (8-12 hours) depending on when you started the process.

Have three greased loaf pans ready. Place dough on floured surface. Knead a few times and divide into thirds. Knead each piece 6-8 times or until smooth. Place in greased loaf pans, spray with Pam, and cover with wax paper or freezer wrap and dish towel. Let sit until ready to bake, 5-6 hours or all day or all night. I prefer at least 8 hours for mine. The longer it sits, the higher your loaves. Bake 350 degrees for 22-30 minutes, until golden brown.

Cinnamon Rolls - Yummy!
Instead of dividing the dough in thirds for bread loaves, divide it in half to make cinnamon rolls.

Melt 1/3 cup margarine and ½ cup brown sugar in microwave until butter is melted. Pour in a 13x9 inch pan. Sprinkle chopped pecans as desired, over mixture. Repeat with a second pan. Set both pans aside.

Knead each half of dough a few times and roll it into a rectangle shape about ½ inch thick. Sprinkle with cinnamon and sugar. Roll up jelly roll fashion from the long side. Cut roll into 12 even portions. A simple way to do this is to take unflavored dental floss, put it under the dough, pull it up over the top, criss cross the two pices and pull until it slices through the dough. Place the rolls in the pecan mixture. Repeat for second pan. Cover lightly and let rise 6-12 hours. Bake 350 degrees for 30 minutes.

If desired, you can glaze with Icing:
1/3 cup margarine
1 tsp. vanilla extract
4 cups confectioners sugar
½ cup milk
Cream the margarine with vanilla. Gradually add the confectioner’s sugar and milk. Stir until smooth. Drizzle over warm cinnamon rolls.

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