The sweet smell of fresh baked sourdough bread is the most welcoming, warming, memorable smell that engulfs the senses in an endorphin producing wave of freshness. The aroma alone quiets the whistling wind, stills the howling storms, and thaws the coldest bites of Jack Frost. It offers a sense of hope in the dead of winter. 

There’s not a richer lunch then a runny egg on a buttered piece of fresh sourdough bread. Even a simple broth with a pinch of salt is majestically converted into a gourmet meal with crumbles of day old bread transformed into toasted croutons and a pinch of shredded cheese on top. 

Don’t let the science of sourdough scare you away from the age-old and timeless tradition. As with anything we do in the Deputie kitchen, it can truly be a simple and painless addition to your nutritious kitchen and meal routine. 

Get or start a starter. 

It’s rather easy to start a sourdough starter. I just started our white starter a couple months ago. I routinely “fed” it for a week before I started baking with it. 

Start a routine. 

For me, feeding and kneading is easiest at night before I go to bed. I pour 1 and 1/3 cup of whole wheat starter, 1 cup of water, a little less then 1 T of salt into my kitchen aid on the lowest setting with my bread kneader attachment. I slowly add flour until it’s just enough to cause the loaf to start clumping up. Then I let it knead util it passes the “window pane test”. Usually 20 minutes or so in the kitchen aid.  You can watch the video below for my step by step.

Meanwhile I feed my starter and clean up.

Then it does it’s first ferment overnight. In the morning I form a loaf and place it in a bowl for a second rise. Before lunch I turn the loaf onto a baking sheet and get the over preheated to 415 degrees. 43 minutes of baking and voila! 

Hand’s on time totaled less then 20 minutes a day. 

Antother routine idea.

I recently have been too sleepy at night for creating a loaf so I started kneading my loaf and feeding my starter around 4pm when I am already in the kitchen making dinner. Before bed I form a loaf and place it in the fridge or a cold place to rise overnight to bake in the morning.

Cooler place = slower fermenting.

Warmer place = faster.

In a large family, I know we’ll eat at least a loaf a day, sometimes 2.

I don’t stress about measuring everything exact. I only measure when I am feeding my starer. I do 1 cup of flour, 1 cup of water, to 1 cup of starter. That’ll usually give me enough the next day to make a loaf and have 1 cup left over again to feed.

What happens if I’m just too lazy to make a loaf of bread? I make pancakes or tortillas or muffins or something that doesn’t need to ferment several hours and can just be made after mixing. I can also feed my starter, cover it up tightly and put it in the fridge. It only needs to be fed once a week when in the fridge. 

If you’re unfamiliar with sourdough, it’s worth YouTubing some videos and reading some websites. My “Go-To” website for all things sourdough is CulturesforHealth.com.

 

I get high-quality, local, organic, fresh ground whole wheat BREAD flour from the natural food store near me. I have bought a 50# bag from the farm before and love the flour they have to offer. Ask your local natural food store. If they are like mine, they order their flour Tuesday, it’s ground Wednesday and shipped Thursday. That’s fresh.

PLEASE USE BREAD FLOUR!

We started a white sourdough starter also to share with others. I am known for making loaves of bread and bringing them to share. 🙂

Experiment. It took me about a year to really get a good grip on what I was doing. Now I don’t look recipes up, I don’t write them down. I know the exact time I need to bake, the temperature, the flour and water amounts, how sticky I need the dough to be to make the PERFECT loaf. 

Sourdough is pretty resilient. I have left it 48 hours without a feeding. I have left it in the fridge for a week and a half without feeding. I have froze it for 3 months, thawed it out and kept using it. I have switched the flours we’ve used. I have given some of my starter to many friends and family. 

It’s fun and a wonderful legacy that you can leave with your kids.

I remember as a kid the house smelling like fresh baked bread every day!

This is the starter your grandmother used to bake me bread with!

Our favorite meals were the simple ones. Bread, butter, broth.

Mom! Where’s the bread?! 

 

Hear From Our Readers!

I generally make two a day, but am making ten today. I sometimes sell it locally, so I have people coming to pick up thanksgiving bread today… I feed my starter everyday, so I always have a good levain to start a batch. I typically mix the dough in the morning and let it rise most of the day. I form loaves in the evening and let it cold rise over night. Then it’s super easy to throw loaves in the oven in the morning.

Sarah

www.wildthingsadventure.com

We make 2 loaves every day or every other day– I have trouble making more than that at a time (too many little hands trying to ‘help’). Family of 6, with 4kids 5 and under…I keep my starters in the fridge, and I always keep two (I killed the starter a few too many times 😉 and it comes from my husbands great great grandmother 110 year old starter which traveled west with their family from the east). Every day I switch which starter I use. I make my starter and let it poof over night, kneed first thing in the morning and can usually bake the loaf(ves) at lunch (nap time). We enjoy fresh bread at dinner..The kids love it when I give them a little chunk of dough that they can kneed and form themselves into their own ‘little loaves’ like Laura and Mary did in one of the little house books.

Natasha

I want to but I have no idea where to start. I’ve never made it before and it seems so overwhelming.

Alyssa

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