Nothing beats the smell of bread baking in the kitchen. Sour dough bread is a special kind of bread using wild yeast and bacteria from a starter of “mother sponge.” One bakery in San Francisco claims they have been using a starter that was started in 1859. This process uses natural leavening rather than using yeast cultures to make it rise. Since the starter depends on air temperature, humidity and elevation each sour dough takes on the unique characteristics of the place it is baked. The sour dough baked in San Francisco will taste quite different than one baked in Atlanta.
Here’s a recipe for to make your own starter and batches of sour dough bread.
Sour Dough Bread Starter
1/2 cup Idahoan brand instant mashed potato flakes
2 cups warm water
1/2 cup sugar
2 tsp. salt
1 package instant dry yeast
Dissolve yeast in 1/2 cup water. Add the remaining ingredients and stir well. Place in a plastic bowl with a covering that has holes in it. DO NOT PLACE IN A METAL BOWL! Keep at room temperature for 24 hours.
Take out and feed with the following mixture:
3/4 cup sugar
3 Tbsp. Idahoan brand instant mashed potato flakes
1 cup warm water
Mix well before adding to starter. Let stand out of the refrigerator (8 – 12 hours). Mixture will be bubbly. Take out one cup to make your bread and place remainder in the refrigerator. Keep in refrigerator for 3 – 5 days and feed again with the above mixture. If not making bread after feeding the starter, throw one cup away. This will avoid deflating the starter.
Sour Dough Bread
1/4 cup sugar
1/2 cup corn oil
2 tsp. salt
1 cup sour dough starter
1 1/2 cups warm water
6 cups of bread flour
In an extra large mixing bowl (do not use a metal bowl), mix dry ingredients together with a wooden spoon. Add wet ingredients all at once and mix to make a stiff batter. Grease another bowl. Place dough in and turn so that the greased part is on top. Cover with plastic wrap and let stand overnight. Do not refrigerate. This is great to do right before your go to bed.
The next morning, punch down dough and knead a little. Divide into 3 equal parts and knead each part on a floured surface 8 – 10 times. Place into 3 non-metallic pans and brush with oil or spray with cooking spray. Cover with waxed paper or plastic wrap. Let rise 4 – 5 hours or all day. Let rise while your are at work. When you get home from work, it’s ready to bake.
Bake at 325 for 10 minutes. Reduce oven temperature to 300 and bake for 35 more minutes. Remove from oven. Remove from pans and let cool.
The bread freezes well.