Try a New Recipe: Sourdough Starter + Bread

If you’ve ever wanted to try making sourdough, now is the perfect time to get “started!” OuR KrAzY KiTcHeN is holding the 3rd Annual Need to Knead Bread Roundup, and if you “start” now, you can have some fabulous sourdough bread to enter in the roundup!
This recipe came from one of my Taste & Create partners last year: Grace of A Southern Grace. (If you’d like to sign up and participate in November, go here by Nov. 8!)

As I was looking around Grace’s blog last year, I kept seeing all the fabulous things Grace does with her precious Ebenezer, her sourdough starter.

And I thought:

Exactly what kind of cowgirl doesn’t have a jar of sourdough starter?

Can I actually claim to be a cowgirl, having never made a loaf of bread from my own starter?

Does Grace have a recipe for sourdough starter?

Will this sourdough starter really, truly be hard to kill, as Grace alleges?
Please let it be hard to kill, and easy to maintain.

What should I name it??

And I made a list for Number One and sent him off to the store.

Sourdough Starter
1 cup warm water
1/2 cup sugar
1 package (2-1/4 teaspoons) dry yeast
3 tablespoons instant potato flakes

To make starter:
Mix water, sugar, yeast, and potato flakes. Let ferment on counter for two days. Then feed with starter feeder and continue with the instructions found in the bread recipe and/or links below.

Starter Feeder
Mix together:
½ c sugar
3 T potato flakes
1 c warm water

Add to jar of starter, (I mixed mine a little with a wooden spoon) and let sit on the counter for around 8 hours.

Grace says: Eb lives in the fridge until feeding time, which can be anywhere from 3 to 14 days after his last meal. (I’ve actually gone longer than two weeks without feeding him and he still did fine.) Upon feeding, he sits on the counter for about 8 hours, and then he’s ready to go.

After sourdough has been on the counter for 8 hours, proceed with any number of sourdough recipes. (Click this link to see all the things I’ve made with sourdough starter!)

The sourdough starter went off without a hitch. It sat and fermented and bubbled and stewed on the counter. I added the starter feeder, and it bubbled away some more. I decided to name it Virgil, which means “growing.”

When it was time, I decided to go ahead with the most basic recipe, Sourdough Bread. I followed Grace’s recipe to the letter. 12 hours later, the dough had risen, but certainly wasn’t overflowing out of my bowl like Grace’s was out of her trifle bowl. Perhaps my bowl was bigger, or something?

I decided I’d make just two loaves instead of three loaves like Grace made. I left the loaves in the oven for 8 hours, just like Grace recommends.
My bread turned out lovely! Perfectly risen, (see above!) golden brown on the outside. The very middle was just a bit doughy, so next time I will preheat the oven to 350 before I start the timer! I think that will take care of that little problem. But, this bread is delicious and easy, and I started baking more of my own bread! I also tried some other sourdough recipes, and I even got my neighbor started with some starter of her very own!
I am sold and converted. Now I’m a real, live cowgirl with real, live sourdough starter in the fridge. Howdy, Virgil. Thanks for coming into my life! I know we’ll make some beautiful things together.
Grace’s Sourdough Bread
1/2 cup oil
1 cup sourdough starter
1 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 cups warm water
1/2 cup sugar
5 cups bread flour
1 cup whole wheat flour
3 tablespoons wheat germ

Combine all ingredients in a large non-metal bowl. Stir everything together, adding more bread flour as necessary to create dough that’s no longer sticky. Transfer the dough into a second non-metal greased bowl.

Roll it around so the entire ball becomes glorious, set it in a warm place, cover it with sprayed aluminum foil…and watch it grow for about 12 hours.

After 12 hours, punch down the dough once, right in its middle. Turn it out of the bowl onto a floured surface and knead it a few times.

(Although Grace divided her dough into three, I only felt like I had enough for two loaves this time).

Divide the dough into two or three even hunks, and knead each a bit more. Place the dough into greased loaf pans.

Place the pans in the oven, cover with sprayed foil, and leave to rise again for around 8 hours.

Grace says: Just FYI, the pans are put into the oven to rise so they don’t have to be moved later and risk collapsing.

After the second rise, remove the foil and bake the dough at 350 degrees for about 25 minutes. Preheat the oven before you start the timer!
Don’t forget to visit me at The Bad Girl’s Kitchen for more fabulous recipes!