SIMPLE SOURDOUGH LOAVES
THE STORY BEHIND THE BREAD
When I was a little girl, my favorite Bible story from Sunday School was Jesus' feeding of the 5,000+ with 5 small loaves of bread and 3 small fish. In the story, people had come from miles around to listen to Jesus speak. The day had grown late and the people were becoming hungry but there was no restaurant, café or diner close by where they could find something for their grumbling bellies. The disciples told Jesus to send the people away into the villages to get their food but Jesus told them to feed the people instead. He sent them into the crowd to find whatever food items they could find that the people may have brought with them. Out of five thousand men, in addition to women and children, only one disciple returned to Jesus and said that he had found someone with food - one young boy with 5 small loaves of bread and 3 small fish – hardly enough to feed all those people. Jesus took the bread and fish, blessed them and divided them among the disciples to hand out to the multitudes. Everyone ate and when all bellies were full, there was an additional twelve more baskets of food left over.
This recipe creates four or five small loaves of bread, each a perfect size for 2 people, that remind me of the picture my Sunday School teacher used to illustrate the loaves of bread from the story.
This bread is extraordinarily moist, versatile and delicious. We have eaten it straight from the oven with just butter, with butter and apple butter, with butter and jam, in bruschetta for lunch or as an appetizer, as a side with pasta or soup, as breakfast toast with butter or butter and cinnamon sugar, and it makes great French toast! It freezes wonderfully well and is just as good as the day it was baked after it has thawed out.
- 1 cup sourdough starter
- 1 ½ cups warm water
- 2 t. dry yeast
- 1 T. brown sugar
- 1 1/2 t. salt
- 3 cups bread flour
- 2 cups unbleached all purpose flour
HOW TO MAKE THE LOAVES
- Mix all ingredients together in a large bowl until it holds together. Pour out onto lightly floured board and knead until smooth and elastic. Place in a buttered bowl and cover with a tea towel until doubled in size – about an hour and a half.
- Divide the dough into four or five equal pieces. (For rolls, just divide the dough into as many rolls as you would like) Shape each piece of dough into a small loaf by turning the edges in and under to form a ball. Place the dough ball down on the board taking your hands and laying them flat on the board and pressing your fingers inward as you go up and down the edge of each side of the ball until a small loaf is formed. Continue with the rest of the dough pieces. Place loaves on a cookie sheet or jelly roll pan covered in parchment paper. Cover the loaves with a tea towel and allow to rise until doubled in size – about an hour.
- Preheat your oven to 400 degrees. Spray each loaf with a spritzer filled with warm water. Make 2 slashes in the top of each loaf with a kitchen exacto knife or sharp serrated knife. Bake for about 20 minutes or until golden brown and hollow when tapped on the bottom.
- *NOTE: My sourdough starter was given to me by my Stepmom and I have kept it going since she gave it to me. (I bake A LOT of bread – my family loves it!) When I use some of my starter, I replenish it to keep it going and if I do not use it within 10 days, I add about a tablespoon of brown sugar and stir it to combine. Here is a sourdough starter recipe if you do not have one continuously going in your fridge already and would like to give this recipe a try:
Sourdough Starter Recipe
3 t. dry yeast
1 ¾ cups plus 2 T. water
2 ¾ cups of flour
1 tsp. sugar
Sprinkle yeast over water in a large jar. Leave for 5 minutes then stir to dissolve. Stir the flour and sugar into the yeast mixture. Cover with a tea towel and allow to ferment at room temperature for 3 to 5 days, cover with lid and refrigerate, stirring the mixture sporadically. The mixture will be bubbly and pleasantly sour-smelling. Use in your favorite sourdough recipes. This sourdough starter does not have to just be used for bread, it can be used for many, many other things….pancakes, biscuits, splatter dabs….you can find tons of recipes online using sourdough starter.
Replenishing Your Starter Supply Table
A Table for replenishing your starter when you use it in a recipe is below:
If you use: Add this much flour: Add this much warm water: Add this much brown sugar:
½ cup starter------1/3 cup flour--------1/3 cup warm water-----------½ tsp. brown sugar
1 cup starter-------¾ cup flour----------¾ cup warm water-------------1 tsp. brown sugar
1 ½ cups starter---1 cup flour ---------1 cup warm water--------------1 ½ tsp.brown sugar
Cover and let stand at room temperature until bubbly, then refrigerate, covered with lid.