Natural Sourdough Bread
What Makes Bread Better? Being Natural Sourdough Bread For Starters
There is something about the smell of homemade sourdough bread. It fills the house with its wonderful smell and makes everyone smile. Then the stomach starts rumbling.
There are two components to good sourdough bread. The starter and the method of making the bread.
The starter is alive and takes some care to keep that way. There are several ways to get a starter. Get one from a friend. Buy one online or start your own. I've tried all three and each has its own merits. The first two I can't really help you with but the last one I can lead the way.
You Must Read This
"There are strange things done in the midnight sun
By the men who moil for gold;
The Arctic trails have their secret tales
That would make your blood run cold;
The Northern Lights have seen queer sights,
But the queerest they ever did see
Was that night on the marge of Lake Lebarge
I cremated Sam McGee."by Robert Service
I love these poems. They, to me, are what outdoor living is all about. Sourdough means camping to me.
It is a given the slower and longer you let bread dough rise the more flavor will develop. This is what sourdough is all about. Instead of using dried yeast each time you make dough for bread or buns or pizza, I use a bit of sourdough dough starter.
The natural yeast sourdough starter adds to the flavor because it is alive, and the longer you keep the starter going the more flavor it has. Once you have the starter going for more than 30 days, you can class it as unique. No one else will have a starter that will taste like yours so be proud of it.
You can pick and choose your pizza peel. I like the sustainable bamboo supply instead of the other woods available. That's me.
Prep Time: long
Total Time: ongoing
- organic unsweetened pineapple juice
- whole wheat or white flour
- Step One: Mix 2-3 Tbsp flour with 1/4 cup organic unsweetened pineapple juice. Stir in a small covered container that is NOT airtight. (I used a small take home container from a fast food deli I popped a few holes in the lid to let out expanding gases). Set aside in a warm place for 2 days stirring once or twice a day.
- Step Two: Add 2-3 Tbsp flour and another 1/4 cup organic unsweetened pineapple juice. Stir and set aside in a warm place for another two days.
- Step Three: You should see activity by this day. If not set aside one more day before throwing it out and starting again from step one. If you do see activity in the way of gas bubbles then double up on the flour. 4-6 Tbsp and 1/2 cup of distilled water ( or purified water with no chlorine ).
- Step Four: Now you should be seeing large gas bubbles and recognize the sweet sourdough odor. One day before Bread day add 1 1/2 cups flour and 1 cup purified or distilled water. Mix in a bowl stirring 2 - 3 times during the day. Cover with plastic wrap and set in a warm place as usual.
- Now you have a your own organic sourdough starter. Keep it active by using it regularly. By adding a Tbsp or two of flour and water every other day and stirring it once a day. After thirty days of feeding your starter regularly, you will be the proud owner of your own unique starter. Enjoy often to keep it healthy.
- The Day Before Bread Day: Now reserve a cup of this starter for future and add the remaining cup of starter to start your bread recipe.
Sourdough Storage Jar - and other Kitchen tools
Take off the rubber sealing ring and you can lock the lid down and still give your starer room to breathe. I store my starter this way in the fridge door. I just add a cup of flour and a cup of water the day before Bread day and set the jar in a warm spot to brew.
There are strange things done in the midnight sun
By the men who moil for gold;
Get the biggest stone you can for backing on. You can use it for more than cooking pizza. Mine stays in the oven all the time. When you preheat your oven it helps retain heat and gives a more even temperature for baking anything.
Pineapple Juice - What The Hey?
When doing a natural sourdough starter you are depending on what yeast spores are floating around or are in the flour you are using. Unfortunately if you just mix flour and water and wait, you'll fail more times than you win. The reason being wild yeast needs an acidic environment and the pineapple juice not only provides that but it is also a natural way to inhibit the bad bacteria that is also floating in the air. I've never failed using this technique.
After you've spooned your slurry and set it aside to rest , using the dough whisk is the best tool to get the remaining flour into the mix. It works wonders.
Natural Sourdough Bread - Bread Day is Here!
- 3 cups of flour
- 1/4 tsp salt
- 1 1/2 cups water
- 1 cup sourdough starter
- 3 - 4 more cups of flour
- The Morning Before Bread Day
- Take your starter bottle out of the fridge. Add 1 cup flour and 1 cup water. Stir and set aside in a warm place.
- The Evening Before Bread Day
- Reserve 1 cup of starter back into your starter jar and put it back in the fridge. Add the rest to the new dough mix.
- Mix the 3 cups of flour, salt, starter and water in a large bowl. Stir with a wooden spoon in one direction about 100 times to develop the gluten. Using a metal spoon or changing directions all the time, breaks the developing gluten chains. Stirring in this way greatly reduces the amount of time you knead the dough later.
- Cover the bowl with plastic film and a tea towel and set aside to allow the starter to bloom in the slurry. Only an hour or so in a warm area.
- As the amount of flour needed to finish depends on the weather and the moisture content of the flour, at this point all your ingredients are there in the mix. You just need to add flour until the dough feels smooth and elastic and not sticky to the touch. This is why I say 3 - 4 more cups. More flour is required on a humid day or lower altitudes. I once had to add almost 6 cups of flour when bread day was on a rainy one on the coast.
- Now here is where I changed the recipe again. I let the dough rise overnight in a cool place.
- The Morning of Bread Day
- Dust you hands with flour and punch down the risen dough. Gently form the dough into a log and divide into loaves. Set each loaf on a square of parchment paper, cover with plastic and tea towel and let rise again. The parchment paper allows you to slide the loaf onto a peel and into the oven without disturbing the loaf.
- I make my loaves round and slash cut a X on the top of the loaf just before baking them on a hot stone in a 450F oven. I preheat the oven with my pizza stone in place for at least 30 minutes before baking time. You have to adjust the time for baking depending on the size of the loaves you make. I make small loaves for bread bowls. cooking time is about 30 minutes.
- They should sound hollow when you tap the bottom. Cool on a rack before eating.
Depending on the size of your loaves you can get one or two (or more) per sheet as long as your peel can lift them .
My Sourdough History
Why I Dough... What I Dough.....
I grew up watching my Mom make her bread weekly. With 6 mouths to feed she had to make large batches of bread. She learned how to make bread from her mother who worked as a camp cook in the BC logging camps on the coast.
When I started helping make the bread I started adding my own techniques and variations to the recipe. Sometimes they worked sometimes they didn't but Mom let me experiment because she was like that.
Her method involved most of the day, starting in the morning and proofing during the day. I remember kneading lots of kneading and that was the first thing I wanted to reduce. The second was waiting for the proofing process.
I developed the two step method for making bread dough because the recipe Mom followed had all the flour in at once and the dough needed to change with the weather on Bread Day. Some days you didn't need all the flour so on those loaves I found they lacked flavor because you were missing ingredients left behind in the unused flour mix.
Now I mix all the ingredients in the slurry first and then just add the amount of flour needed at the end. this way every loaf gets all the requirements.
On my quest to reduce the kneading time I came across the wooden spoon method. It work, I don't know why, but it does. Since them I've come across the no knead method of making bread. They are not the same in my opinion but still good methods. What I did take from them is the over night proofing in a cool environment instead of the shorter warm area proofing. The slower you let the dough rise the more flavor you get.
So all in all the dough I do has changed and is changing all the time. It matches the day, my mood, and the weather. Don't let things you can't change ruin something you are making. Learn why things happen and you can take control and do the dough your way.
Is It Safe To Eat Fresh Bread Out Of The Oven
Granny also said you'd get a belly ache if you ate the hot bread.