sourdough

Easy Sourdough Starter and Bread Recipe

I would tell a lie if I told you I eat a lot of bread. I actually eat very little bread since discovering that I have a gluten intolerance. However, when I have it, and when I make it, I devour it in a heartbeat. Eat now, suffer later. You could say that bread is my weakness when it’s available. But it must be fresh, hot out of the oven bread. And when it’s sourdough? Well, the gloves come off!

It’s only natural that my very first job was working in a little Mennonite store in Remington, Virginia. I’ve always said that my cooking and baking skills came from that stage in life rather than from my mother or grandmother. I never got many opportunities to cook “with” my mom or grandma, or maybe I simply wasn’t interested in it at the time.

A few years ago a friend of my mothers sent me a sourdough starter through the mail. I was terrified that the white powdery substance would be inspected as some chemical war of terror, but it made it safely to my mailbox in just a few short days — from North Carolina to good ol’ Virginia.

Sourdough was a brand new thing to me. I loved eating sourdough, but I never understood the complex science behind it. I’m a fermenting queen now, but back then? No way.

The history of sourdough is simple. People needed an option to preserve and make something on a regular basis with a yeast they could capture naturally from the air. Fermentation was one of the very first ways of preserving food for our ancestors. Yes, it came long before canning. And sourdough was born out of a need instead of a want for delicious soury bread.

Unfortunately, with something so simple, I failed. I failed miserably the first time. I even had to ask for more suspicious white powdery mailed substance so that I could start all over again — and then I failed again. Eventually I gave up because I didn’t have the time for this complex science. Recently, however, I discovered it’s not science at all, but an art.

I began with my very own sourdough starter this time. Not that I didn’t admire my friends shared starter, but I wanted a legacy. I wanted a starter that could be passed down to my son’s wife or, if we ever have one, our own daughter. Of course, the starter would be 20 years or more old by then, but that’s the beauty of it. Isn’t this something every mom thinks of? No? Yeah I’m weird…

I thought I had failed again, oh my word, my future daughter-in-law in the year of 2035 won’t have a family generational sourdough starter of her own. How silly. But by the fifth day the smell of fermented grains filled my kitchen. If I didn’t know any better, I would have thought my husband had a hops binge the night before…without me….how rude.

I had not failed. My 2035 daughter-in-law would have a sourdough starter of her own…bless her heart. And I would now have fresh sourdough for my family every 3 days.

It’s simple and easy. The starter stays on your counter. You feed it everyday. And then you use it when it comes time to make bread. You should know that it takes about 12 hours for your bread to rise completely. So you’ll want to make sure you start it the night before or early that morning of cooking.

 

Sourdough Starter

1 cup unbleached all-purpose flour
1/2 – 1 cup cold water
1 quart size mason jar

Day 1: Combine flour and water into quart size mason jar, or large crock, until consistency is a thick pancake batter like consistency. Cover top tightly with a cloth or paper towel, secured with a rubber band. Set in warm place on counter out of direct sunlight. Consistency is the key in this recipe, not the amount of flour and water.

Day 2 and 3: Stir mixture daily. Add 3/4 cup all purpose flour and 1/2 cup cold water every 12 hours (or twice a day). Make sure that your starter is less than halfway full in the jar. If it is more than half full, it could spill over during fermentation. Simply pour off excess. In fact, I always take a cup of starter out before adding the flour and water. Again, consistency (thick pancake batter) is more important than amount of flour and water.

Day 4 through 5: Stir mixture daily. Add 3/4 cup all purpose flour and 1/2 cup cold water once a day. Again, pouring off any excess. You will continue doing this every single day from this point on. Transfer your starter to a permanent home such as a sourdough crock or larger jar. Do not use plastic or metal. Again, consistency (thick pancake batter) is more important than amount of flour and water.

Your starter will begin smelling very fragrant after day 5. Before day 5 it might smell very sour and musty. Don’t fret yet. As long as there’s no mold and you’re keeping up with feeding it properly,  you’ll be fine.

After it has successfully fermented, it will have a very lovely yeast smell to it, almost vinegary, and it will be full of bubbles. It can take up to 7 days of feeding your starter before it is ready to use. It will become very bubbly and active. Once it is ready to use, you’ll take out what you need and add flour and water back into the mixture every single day. If you are not going to make bread every week, then you can refrigerate the mixture and feed it once a week. However, it does much better just staying on the counter and feeding it daily.

Here’s a great Sourdough Bread recipe for you! If you want a more Artisan Sourdough Bread, you’ll want to click here for a previous recipe.

Sourdough Bread

1/2 cup to 1 cup sourdough starter
1/4 cup sugar
3 tbsp. oil
2 cups warm water
1 tbsp. salt
6 cups flour

Method:

1. Add all ingredients, holding back two cups of flour, into a mixer or large bowl. Knead until smooth, adding enough flour until the bread forms into a soft ball.

2. Turn out onto floured surface and knead for ten minutes (or do so in your stand mixer), until dough is elastic and smooth.

3. Put dough into greased bowl, cover with towel, and leave in a warm place to rise for 6 hours.

4. Punch down dough and knead again for 3 minutes. Divide into buttered loaf pans and let rise again for 4 hours.

5. Bake at 375* for 45 minutes or until top is brown. Loaves will sound hollow when tapped.

 

 

Artisan Sourdough Bread and Starter

One of my favorite things to indulge in is bread. Though I can’t indulge often—because large amounts of gluten simply don’t agree with me—I have found that Sourdough bread is less harsh on my body.
Because of the fermented yeasty goodness, sourdough can be a great bread alternative for those with gluten sensitive digestive systems. Not only that, it’s simply delicious. The process of sourdough is incredible, and a science in and of itself. The bacteria and yeast break down the sugars and gluten in the bread, allowing your body to digest it better than regular bread.
Here is a great recipe that I enjoy making. Please keep in mind, this is a true sourdough recipe, therefore requiring a long amount of rising time to ensure the breaking down of gluten and sugars. This also creates that nice crusty outside, and large air bubbles on the inside of the loaf. I’ve also included my sourdough starter recipe.

Good sourdough bread must start with a good sourdough starter. If your starter isn’t active enough, your bread won’t rise properly. Here is my tried and true starter, and the one I always use!

Sourdough Starter

1 cup unbleached all-purpose flour
1/2 – 1 cup cold water
1 quart size mason jar

Day 1: Combine flour and water into quart size mason jar, or large crock, until consistency is a thick pancake batter like consistency. Cover top tightly with a cloth or paper towel, secured with a rubber band. Set in warm place on counter out of direct sunlight. Consistency is the key in this recipe, not the amount of flour and water.

Day 2 and 3: Stir mixture daily. Add 3/4 cup all purpose flour and 1/2 cup cold water every 12 hours (or twice a day). Make sure that your starter is less than halfway full in the jar. If it is more than half full, it could spill over during fermentation. Simply pour off excess. In fact, I always take a cup of starter out before adding the flour and water. Again, consistency (thick pancake batter) is more important than amount of flour and water.

Day 4 through 5: Stir mixture daily. Add 3/4 cup all purpose flour and 1/2 cup cold water once a day. Again, pouring off any excess. You will continue doing this every single day from this point on. Transfer your starter to a permanent home such as a sourdough crock or larger jar. Do not use plastic or metal. Again, consistency (thick pancake batter) is more important than amount of flour and water.

Your starter will begin smelling very fragrant after day 5. Before day 5 it might smell very sour and musty. Don’t fret yet. As long as there’s no mold and you’re keeping up with feeding it properly,  you’ll be fine.

After it has successfully fermented, it will have a very lovely yeast smell to it, almost vinegary, and it will be full of bubbles. It can take up to 7 days of feeding your starter before it is ready to use. It will become very bubbly and active. Once it is ready to use, you’ll take out what you need and add flour and water back into the mixture every single day. If you are not going to make bread every week, then you can refrigerate the mixture and feed it once a week. However, it does much better just staying on the counter and feeding it daily.

Artisan Sourdough Bread

1/2 cup to 1 cup sourdough starter1/4 cup sugar
3 tbsp. oil
2 cups warm water
1 tbsp. salt
6 cups flour

1. Add all ingredients, holding back two cups of flour, into a mixer or large bowl. Knead until smooth, adding remaining 2 cups of flour, or enough flour until the bread forms into a soft ball.

2. Turn out onto floured surface and knead for ten minutes (or do so in your stand mixer), until dough is elastic and smooth. Flour loaf as necessary. Dough should be sticky by not extremely wet.
3. Put dough into greased bowl, cover with plastic wrap, and leave in a warm place to rise for 12-14  hours.
4. Punch down dough and turn out on a floured surface. Knead again for 2-3 minutes, lightly flouring if necessary.
5. Form a round loaf, pulling the top of the bread tightly. Very lightly dust outside of loaf with flour. Let rise on the counter or in a floured proofing basket for 2-3 hours.
6. Preheat oven to 375. Place a dutch oven (with lid) into the oven to pre-heat.
7.  After dough has risen, remove dutch oven from the oven. Remove lid and carefully place sourdough loaf in the dutch oven. You can rearrange the loaf into more of a ball if necessary, but do not knead. Place top back on dutch oven and bake covered for 30 minutes.
8. Remove lid after 30 minutes and cook bread uncovered until golden crispy or desired darkness/doneness. When tapped on, loaf will sound hollow when done.
9. Turn loaf onto a cooling rack and allow to cool before slicing.
10. Use a very sharp bread knife to cut into your loaf and enjoy!

Sourdough Biscuits

Sourdough starter is a God send. Whoever looked at some flour and water and said, “man, if I ferment this for a week and then add it to everything, it’s going to taste amazing”…..that person needs a big hug and a paid vacation. Seeing as they probably didn’t get those a few centuries ago.

I have always had a love for sourdough bread, but when I started making sourdough I realized I needed more than just bread for all of this starter I had left over every week.

Enter left stage…. “The Amy Who Makes Everything With Sourdough Starter”.

From chocolate cake and English muffins, to good old sourdough bread and starter. But my recent discovery? Biscuits….

Biscuits…

Biscuits…

Just saying it, you automatically want to follow the word with “gravy”.

Biscuits (and gravy) are a staple in the South. You should have them in your life no matter where you hail from.

So why no sourdough biscuits? I thought to myself. Ahhh, yes, sourdough biscuits.

So I made them.

And I love them.

And I shall never make any other biscuit as long as I live.  Well, that might be an exaggeration.

These biscuits are light and fluffy, and quite sourdoughy. You can reduce the amount of sourdough starter if they are too sour for you. In fact, you might start with a half cup instead of a whole cup in the recipe below. But we like to take our sourdough, so the whole cup is perfect.

This recipe pairs well as a dinner biscuit with butter and jam, but it’s even better underneath a steamy hot ladle full of sausage or chipped beef gravy. This recipe is basically a regular biscuit recipe, but with the sourdough starter instead of milk or water.

Enjoy!

Sourdough Biscuits

1 cup flour
1/4 tsp salt
1/2 tsp baking soda
2 tsp baking powder
1/3 cup butter, cold and cut into pieces
1 cup sourdough starter

 

  1. Combine flour, salt, baking soda and back powder in a large bowl.
  2. Cut cold butter into flour mixture until it resembles coarse crumbles.
  3. Add sourdough starter and knead until all of the flour is absorbed.
  4. Turn out onto a very lightly floured surface, pat into 3/4″ to 1″ thickness and cut out biscuits.
  5. Place in a buttered cast iron skillet, biscuit sides touching one another, and cook at 425 for 12-15 minutes.

 

Sourdough Chocolate Cake

Sweet Jesus. Right in the middle of my weightloss journey, this recipe found me. I mean, all out-up in my face-train wreck at 100 mph-found me. It’s good, it’s real good, folks.

I don’t have any fancy pictures of it.

I didn’t even waste my time pulling my camera out, pulling the backdrop inside to set up a photo, and then editing and posting them on here. Heck no…

This cake is photo worthy, but I’m not stupid enough to let a warm, chocolately cake just sit there without being eaten. How rude of me. Nor am I stupid enough to cut a piece of cake days later, taking the risk of it drying out in those 10 minutes of photo time. Pfff, are you out of your mind!?


As much as I’d like to, I can’t take credit for this recipe. I came across it while strolling the internet. Seeing as we’ve restarted our sourdough journey, this was right up my alley. I must try it, and I did. And I succeeded….maybe a little too much!

Breakfast the next morning — don’t judge. Stop it.

This cake recipe came from King Arthur Flour. They have a lot of amazing recipes on their website — highly recommend them.

This recipe calls for sourdough starter. If you don’t have sourdough starter, you can create your own. We have it on hand every day because I make sourdough bread. It’s very easy and worth it. You can click here for my recipe. 

The one and only thing I would change about this recipe? I might have added a cup and a half of sourdough starter instead of just a cup. But it’s all in your taste! I also changed this recipe to reflect our preferences in sugar, flour, etc. This recipe also calls for icing, but it honestly doesn’t need it. It eats very much like a pound cake. We prefer it without icing, and with a nice cold glass of milk or some ice cream!

Sourdough Chocolate Cake

1 cup “fed” sourdough starter
1 cup milk (whole milk or 2% preferred) or evaporated milk
2 cups Unbleached All-Purpose Flour
1 1/2 cups organic granulated sugar or evaporated cane juice
1 cup vegetable oil
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
3/4 cup unsweetened baking cocoa (not Dutch process)
1 teaspoon espresso powder, optional (I did not use it)2 large eggs

1) Combine the “fed” starter, milk, and flour in a large mixing bowl. Cover and let rest at room temperature for 2 to 3 hours. It won’t necessarily bubble, but it may have expanded a bit.
2) Preheat the oven to 350°F. Lightly butter a 9″ x 13″ pan.
3) In a separate bowl, beat together the sugar, oil, vanilla, salt, baking soda, cocoa. and espresso powder (if using — I did not). The mixture will be grainy.
4) Add the eggs one at a time, beating well after each addition.
5) Gently combine the chocolate mixture with the starter-flour-milk mixture, stirring till smooth. This will be a gloppy process at first, but the batter will smooth out as you continue to beat gently.
6) Pour the batter into the prepared pan.
7) Bake the cake for 30 to 40 minutes (mine was done in 20!!), until it springs back when lightly pressed in the center, and a cake tester inserted into the center comes out clean.
8) Remove the cake from the oven, and set it on a rack to cool while you make the icing (if making icing).

ENJOY!

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*Disclaimer: While I am an herbalist, and herbalism is not regulated by the FDA, I am not a medical doctor. The recipes and tips on this website are geared towards those who want to live a more natural lifestyle.
Please use all herbal remedy recipes on this website only after doing thorough research in regard to your own health needs, and after seeking medical attention if necessary. 
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