We love sourdough bread around here, but I’m not very good at keeping starters alive. We’re enjoying the bread I’m making with this latest batch of starter, and I was glad to find this recipe that yields a single loaf. Baking one loaf at a time means that I’m baking the bread more frequently, which is good in terms of keeping that starter going.
Sourdough bread requires a lot of advance planning. It takes 3 to 4 days to get a starter going, and each time you want to use it, it helps to feed it 8 hours in advance. And then when you take some out you have to put some new materials in, wait 8 hours and then put it all in the fridge until next time, which ideally should be no more than 4 to 5 days after the last time.
It’s worth it, though. So very worth it.
Mix all of these in a VERY large ceramic or glass bowl. Cover lightly with a tea towel and place in a draft-free area. Stir a couple of times a day as the starter foams up. On the first day, check every 6 hours or so and stir down. Then check twice a day. After 3 or 4 days it should begin to smell tangy. You can use it right now or refrigerate for later. Stir down & refrigerate in a large, tightly-sealed container. Make sure this is a LARGE container. I found this out the hard way when I spent one early morning cleaning up what my husband thought was “stinky pancake batter” all over the fridge. A quart jar is a good size for the amount of starter in this recipe.
When you use starter, you have to replace it. Use identical amounts of flour and water to match the amount of starter you took out. If you use 1/2 cup starter, shake up 1/2 cup EACH flour and water in a jar, then stir it in to your starter container.
About 8 hours before you want to bake, remove starter from refrigerator, take the lid off the jar, and stir in a pinch of sugar to wake up the yeast. Cover it with a tea towel and set aside until it’s time to bake.
Makes 1 loaf.
Place ingredients in your bread machine pan in the order recommended by the manufacturer. Select DOUGH cycle. After the first knead, peek at the dough to make sure a nice dough ball has formed. Add a bit more flour or water at this point if it appears necessary.
When the cycle is complete, turn dough onto a floured surface. Allow it to rest a few minutes, then shape it into a loaf and place in oiled loaf pan. Cover and let rise at least 1 hour, or until the dough begins to peek over the top of the pan.
Bake 30 to 35 minutes at 350. Turn out onto wire rack to cool. Allow bread to cool completely before slicing.
Nutrition information: the rule of thumb with white bread is 14g carb per ounce of bread.