How to Make Sourdough Bread

When you make sourdough bread, it can serve as a great sandwich bread, as a stuffing when cubed and dried and makes the perfect garnish for a piping hot bowl of soup in the middle of winter.

When making the following sourdough bread recipe, instead of making two loaves, make about eight same-size rounds of dough and use them as soup bowls. Use a knife to cut a circle on top, and then hollow the bread bowl, leaving about 1 to 1 ½ inches of bread around the inside. When the soup is gone, tear the bread bowl into pieces and eat it too!

Sourdough is called starter bread, or bread that is made using a sourdough starter mix. When making starter, it's important that you don't use metal utensils, and only use glass, glazed ceramic or plastic bowls when preparing the bread. After ten days, the starter should be relegated to the refrigerator. In the cold temperature it will ferment slower. Starters should also be fed periodically to keep them healthy. When not being used, this particular starter should be given a tablespoon of sugar every ten days to keep it healthy. When in use, after each cup of starter is removed, add one cup flour, one cup water and one tablespoon sugar. Stir with a wooden spoon every day.

Different breads require different starters. The following bread is made from the following starter recipe.

Basic Starter Recipe
Stir one package of active dry yeast with ½ cup warm water. Dissolve the yeast and then add two cups of warm water, two cups of all-purpose flour and one tablespoon of sugar. Beat this mixture until it's smooth. Cover with cheesecloth and let it stand at room temperature for anywhere from five to ten days. If the room is very warm, starter will work quicker than if the room is cold. Stir several times each day. After ten days, refrigerate and use accordingly. Starter should be returned to room temperature before using in a bread mix.

If you already have Amish Friendship bread starter, you can use it in this recipe, in place of the listed starter. Because both are sourdough starters, when baking sourdough breads, the two starters are interchanged.

Sourdough Bread Recipe

Ingredients You Will Need:
1 package active dry yeast
1 ½ cups warm water
5 ½ cups flour
1 cup sourdough starter
2 teaspoons salt
2 teaspoons sugar
½ teaspoon baking soda

Mix the yeast and warm water in a large bowl and wait until the yeast has dissolved-this should take no more than five minutes. Blend in about half the flour, one cup of sourdough starter, salt and sugar. Add the remaining flour. Mix until you have a stiff dough. Turn the dough onto a lightly floured surface and knead until smooth and elastic.

Grease a large mixing bowl and place the dough into the bowl. Cover the bowl with a greased sheet of plastic wrap. Let the dough rise in a warm place until it has doubled in size. Punch the dough down and divide it into two same size balls of dough or several smaller balls to use as individual soup bowls.

Cover the two pieces of dough with the greased plastic wrap and let it rest for about ten minutes. Carefully mold each piece into a loaf and place them into greased loaf pans. Using a sharp knife, slice a 1 to 1 ½ inch slash down the center of each loaf, then cover and set the pans in a warm place to rise again. It should take about one to two hours for the loaves to double in size a second time.

Bake at 400 degrees for about 40 minutes. Loaves are done when golden brown and it sounds hollow when tapped.

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