Let’s talk about sourdough bread! We’re taking a slight detour from herbs today, but hey, homeschoolers are really good at going off on interesting tangents, making them into learning experiences, and tying the random things they learned back into their everyday life.
And fresh sourdough bread is an amazing, healthy addition to your family’s table that compliments an herbal lifestyle perfectly.
Singing the Praises of my Amazing Sourdough Bread!
I thought it was too good to be true, but I have actually made a successful sourdough sandwich bread that my husband loves for his egg sandwiches in the morning, my daughter and I love for our peanut butter toast, and we all love as sandwiches for lunch or garlic bread for supper.
7 Reasons Why my Sourdough Recipe is So Good
- Not too dense; it won’t make you gag
- No giant holes; anything you put on it won’t fall right through like it would with some artisan bread.
- A beautiful fluffy domed crust; it doesn’t come out like a brick!
- Tangy with just enough bite to add to your meal without overpowering it.
- And simple enough for a busy mom to maintain a supply of fresh, delicious sourdough bread with 10 minutes of baking every 2-3 days.
- It is reliable! The best thing about it is that it comes out reliably AWESOME; I have been baking this almost every other day for a couple months and it is consistent. It doesn’t rise amazingly one day then fall flat the next time. Just predicable delicious bread that disappears pretty fast at my house.
- Another amazing thing: This only uses THREE ingredients; flour, water, and salt. Of course some of the flour and water is maintained in a sourdough starter, and you use both white flour and whole wheat flour, so really that is 5 different things to get out, but that’s a technicality I think. No butter, no oil, no milk. Just the basics.
Why exert the effort to make sourdough bread when storebought is so convenient and even yeast bread takes less planning??? I’ll be posting a blog post next week on all the benefits of sourdough over yeast bread.
First, you need a sourdough starter
So just how do you make this amazing bread? First you need a sourdough starter. I have written detailed instructions for growing and maintaining a super simple dairy-free starter right here in this post.
Once your starter is established and going strong for maybe about a week, you are ready to make some bread! This recipe makes one large loaf. It can be doubled or tripled even if you want to make more bread at a time. We like it fresh, and find baking 1 loaf every other day is just right for us, with a little left over for breadcrumbs or French toast on the weekend.
When to start your bread?
This bread can be made right before you go to bed, left to rise overnight, and baked the next morning. It can also be made while you are making breakfast and baked later in the evening after supper. Either way it needs about 12 hours of rise time. Planning ahead to time sourdough bread properly seemed intimidating to me when I first started, but with this super easy recipe, it’s as easy as peeking in the bread bag to determine if you need to make more, spending 10 minutes whipping up a loaf either really early or late in the day, and enjoying delicious sourdough bread the next morning.
- 2 Cups Organic White Flour
- 2 Cups Organic Whole Wheat Flour
- 1 TBSP Salt
- 1.5 Cup Sourdough Starter
- 1.25 Cup Water
- Mix flour and salt together in a large bowl.
- Stir in your sourdough starter. Don’t forget to replace what you use; this counts as your feeding for the day.
- Add in 1 Cup of water and combine as thoroughly as possible. Refill the cup with about half a cup of water and gradually combine until you have a smooth, not sticky ball of dough. I normally use about 1/4 of a cup, so 1.25 cups all together.
- Knead the dough by hand for about 10 minutes or in your stand mixer for a few minutes. I normally knead by hand because I enjoy it and it is quieter if my kids are sleeping. The dough should be elastic with just the slightest hint of stickiness. I would err slightly on the side of a little moist rather than too dry.
- Put your dough to rise for a total of 12 hours. I have done this two different ways. One way is to put your dough directly into the oiled bread pan and give it a single 12 hour rise in the oven so you don’t even have to move it. Another option is to let it rise for about 4-6 hours in the bowl, punch it down, reform it into a bread loaf, and let it rise for another 6-8 hours in the bread pan. This allows you to give it a longer rise without danger of it collapsing. I have not been able to tell a difference in the quality of the bread with either technique, but the bread with the longer rise time does seem a bit more sour because the flavor has had a longer time to develop.
- Put your bread in the oven, set it to 425 F, and allow the oven to heat up. I find that leaving my bread in the oven while it preheats gives it that last little boost and makes the crust dome nicely.
- Bake for about 10 minutes, then pull it out and paint the crust with olive oil to soften it.
- Bake for about another 10 minutes. The crust should be a golden brown and the loaf should sound hollow when you tap on it.
- Allow your loaf to cool enough to handle it, then remove it from the bread pan and cool completely on the counter or a wire rack. We store our sourdough bread in a plastic grocery bag in the cupboard, but you can store yours in a breadbox, in a gallon sized plastic zippered bag, or in the fridge. I did an experiment with cutting a loaf in half and storing half in the fridge and half in the cupboard and did not notice any difference in the quality.
Sourdough Bread and Family!
So there you have it! It is so easy and straightforward that even my two year old has got the rhythm of creating sourdough down pat. She actually knows the consistency that the bread needs before it can be kneaded and she has been practicing kneading bread alongside me. She was lecturing her daddy the other day on the proper technique, saying, ” howd and push, fwip, and spin!” She also reminds me that “it just needs to wise a bit.”
Making your family homemade sourdough bread can be more than just providing amazing flavor or great health benefits. You can also be creating great family memories and giving your children skills that will benefit them throughout their lives!
I’d encourage you to jump in and try it. One taste of your own tangy amazing sourdough bread and you’ll be hooked!
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