Sourdough – starter, bread & pancakes.

Oh the joys of baking fresh bread. It takes time and patience but totally worth it in the end. Several months ago I was gifted some sourdough starter. It’s integral in the making of anything sourdough related.

It’s made with flour and water and takes love an attention – like having a pet. Once you’ve got the starter you can go ahead and make bread. I’ll get to the starter part – as I haven’t actually made my own – all I know is I feed it once a week (by removing part of the starter – either using it in a recipe or discarding it) then adding equal parts flour and warm water, stirring it up and letting it sit for a bit. Then I pop it back in the fridge and it sits happily until it’s fed or used in another recipe.

This weekend I decided I would make homemade sourdough bread. The recipe I used made two loaves and was absolutely AMAZING! I will include what I did differently, as I followed it to a T, minus, that I let it rise again this morning and baked it this morning.

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I need to work on it’s shape and would like to try actually baking it in a loaf pan. This recipe calls for a baking sheet.

Basic Sourdough Bread – from Pinchmysalt.com (adapted from King Arthur Flour)

1 cup sourdough starter
1.5 cups warm filtered water
5 to 6 cups unbleached all purpose or bread flour (I used King Arthur bread flour – unbleached)
2.5 teaspoons salt

Part One: The Sponge
Pour the cup of starter into a large mixing bowl. Add the warm water and 3 cups of flour. Mix vigorously with a wooden spoon. Cover with plastic wrap and put it aside to work. You want to allow at least 2 hours and up to 8 hours. A longer period at a lower temperature results in a more sour flavour. (Mine went 12 hrs – I started it in the morning and we ended up having dinner with friends so it sat longer).

Part Two: The Dough
After part one, remove the plastic wrap. Blend the salt with one cup of flour and stir into the sponge, add additional flour a small amount at a time (I only used 1 full cup – resulting in 5 cups total for my bread) This recipe does not call for a mixer, so I did it by hand (as you all know I prefer!) Turn the dough out on to a floured surface and knead for 3-4 minutes. Let rest while you grease a bowl (I used olive oil) and then knead for another 3-4 mins. At this time you may need to add more flour – you want to ensure its smooth and elastic. Just enough to keep it from sticking. Place in bowl and flip it around to cover all sides in oil. Cover (I use a warm damp tea towel at this point) and let rise until doubled (1 – 2 more hours). Mine went over night as it was going to be 4 hrs before it would get in the oven.

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Part Three: Shaping & Baking
Turn the dough out and divide in half. Shape each half into a loaf and place on a lightly greased, cornmeal sprinkled baking sheet. Cover (with damp tea towel) and let rise until doubled (1-2 hours). Remove the cover and slash the tops of the loaves (I forgot to do this, I presume it’s important so make sure you do it) and bake in a preheated 450 degree oven for 20mins until golden brown. Turn the oven off, crack the door and leave the loaves in for another 5 minutes. Remove loaves to cooling rack and let cool completely before slicing.

***If you are really nice to me I would be happy to share my starter. If you would like to make your own please go to the pinchmysalt website (link above) as she has shared several links/websites to making your own. When I make my own I will share my recipe.***

Sourdough Banana Pancakes – from The Dutch Bakers Daughter

Ingredients:
1.5 cups all purpose flour (I haven’t yet, but will try my gluten free blend next time)
3 tablespoons sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt
1.5 teaspoons baking soda
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon (I didn’t put this in – made them for the girls and wasn’t sure they’d like them that way)
2 mushed ripe banans
1 cup sourdough starter
1 cup low fat buttermilk (I used almond milk – to make it buttermilk add 1 tablespoon white vinegar or lemon juice and let sit – life changing right?)
2 eggs, slightly beaten
4 tablespoons unsalted butter – melted (you’ll need extra for the frying pan to cook the pancakes)
1 teaspoon vanilla

Method:
Mix in one bowl the flour, sugar, salt, baking soda and cinnamon.
In another bowl, add bananas, sourdough starter, buttermilk, eggs, butter and vanilla. Whisk to combine. Add liquid mixture to flour mixture and stir with a wooden spoon until just combined. Batter should have small, medium lumps in it.

Put some butter in the heated pan, and pour the batter into pancakes. Cook until bubbly and then flip. Cook until other side is golden. Then serve with, none other than, more butter and syrup!

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ENJOY!!!

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