Last spring, I decided to give sourdough a try. I followed the instructions on King Arthur Flour's website and for two weeks, fed my little bacteria baby until it was ready to make bread. At the time, I was homeschooling our kindergarten-aged twins, so I was always home. One of my proudest kitchen achievements last year was that we didn't buy bread for a whole month.
Well, summer hit, and I lost my consistency in bread making. Then this past fall, when all three kids were in school, and I began teaching piano and actively writing this blog, I just stopped baking, and my sad, neglected starter went caput. And you know what? That's okay! I had entered a new season, and my priorities shifted. I didn't see it as a net loss at all. I had gained a lot of experience in working with sourdough and trying different recipes and applications. When I was ready to jump back in, I'd find, or make, a new starter and start another chapter.
The desire to bake returned in January. A friend of mine, Erin of Barksalot Farm, shared a photo of an overabundance of starter she'd made and was offering to share it with anyone interested. Yes, please! The day I went to pick it up just so happened to be my birthday. It was a great gift.
It's been a few weeks now, and I have already been baking up a storm. Today, I decided to make some sandwich bread since we were running low, and the grocery stores are too because of the panic over the current snow storms here in Western WA. We received 6-12 inches of snow in our area on Friday night, and now we're bracing for more snowfall all week. It has sparked fear in a lot of the general population, and people have been cleaning out the grocery stores. It's crazy. I'm glad I can just stay home and bake.
This recipe is based on the basic sourdough recipe that is on King Arthur Flour's website. I've tweaked it a bit. The ingredients are the same, but with all that I've learned about baking with sourdough starter, my method has shifted. Give it a try and let me know what you think!
- 1 1/2 teaspoons dry active yeast
- 1 1/2 teaspoons salt
- 1 1/2 teaspoons sugar
- 298g All Purpose Flour (2 1/2 cups)
- 454g ripe (fed) sourdough starter (2 cups)
- 113g lukewarm water (1/2 cup)
- Place the lukewarm water (~ 110°F) in a small bowl. Whisk in the yeast and sugar and let stand for a few minutes until the yeast has dissolved and is bubbly.
- Add the bloomed yeast mixture to the sourdough starter and stir to combine.
- Combine the wet ingredients with the flour to form a shaggy dough. Let this sit to hydrate for 10 minutes.
- Sprinkle the dough with the salt. Mix and knead — by hand, mixer, or bread machine — to make a soft, smooth dough; about 15 to 20 minutes by hand, 7 to 10 minutes in a mixer.
- Place the dough in a lightly greased bowl and let it rise for 45 to 60 minutes, until puffy but not necessarily doubled in bulk.
- Lightly grease a 9" x 5" loaf pan.
- On a lightly greased work surface, gently deflate the dough, and form it into a 9" log. Place the log in the prepared pan, cover, and let it rise for 60 to 90 minutes until it crests about 1" over the rim of the pan.
- Preheat the oven to 350°F. Fill a small dish with 1/2 cup of water and place in the oven on the lower rack.
- Bake the bread on the center rack of your oven for 40 to 50 minutes, until it's light gold and a digital thermometer inserted into the center reads 190°F.
- Remove the bread from the oven, and after a couple of minutes turn it out of the pan onto a rack to cool. Store, well-wrapped, at room temperature for several days; freeze for longer storage.