This is a post I have put off for such a long time. Mainly, because I new it was a doozy to write up. Also, I’m afraid you’re going to say, “too many steps,” and write off this recipe. DON’T DO THAT. This is seriously the most incredible bread you will EVER make.
This sourdough bread is not your traditional sourdough bread. In fact, my husband says it shouldn’t even be called sourdough because it doesn’t even taste anything like what you would expect when people say they are making sourdough bread. It isn’t cooked in a dutch oven, and it isn’t crusty. This is a soft and sweet bread that will be the perfect addition to any family dinner, made into cinnamon pull apart loaves, rolls, and even paninis.
In order to make this bread you have to have a starter. If you live close to me, I’ll gladly give you some! My mom was given her starter by a lady in our church congregation back in the 80’s. Guys, that’s over 30 years ago!! I grew up having this bread for Sunday dinner. My mom would bake it on Saturday nights, and my brothers and I would beg her to cut into a loaf. There is nothing better than bread right out of the oven. When any of my siblings or I go back to my mom’s for a visit, our one request is to always have homemade bread.
When I was a freshman at BYU, I swiped some starter from my sister-in-law who had some of my mom’s 80’s starter. I learned quickly that 18-19 year-old boys love fresh baked bread. One time, I was letting my bread rise in the oven, and one of my roommate’s boyfriends preheated the oven to bake cookies. The bowl melted and the dough was ruined. We were all devastated that we wouldn’t have fresh bread that evening.
When I met my husband, I started making this bread again. Seriously, the way to a guy’s heart is through his stomach. We would meet in the library for lunch each day and eat peanut butter sandwiches on it. Then we got married, had kids, went to grad school two times, and I totally forgot about making sourdough bread.
Last year when the pandemic hit, and everyone got on the sourdough bandwagon, I decided it was time to get it going again. I don’t know why I ever stopped. It’s not hard to keep alive, and it takes maybe 10 minutes total of work to get 4 loaves made. I’ll gladly trade 10 minutes for fresh homemade bread. Lately, I’ve been experimented with different ways of using the dough. Honey butter dinner rolls. Cinnamon swirl bread. Cinnamon pull-apart loaves. I’m just getting started!
When making your own starter, give it a few feeds before actually making your dough. As time goes on, the flavor will only enhance. Don’t be afraid of killing your starter. Sometimes, I’ve gone 2-3 weeks without feeding it and it does just fine. I like to keep my starter in a large 2 qt mason jar. A 2 qt. drink pitcher also works really well. Just remember not to screw a lid on top of whatever container you wind up using, you don’t want it to explode.
- To make your own starter:
- 2 cups warm water
- ½ tsp. salt
- 2 tsp. sugar
- 1 tsp. Yeast
- 4 TBS. instant potatoes
- Mix ingredients together and let it sit t out all day until the potato flakes rise. Place the starter uncovered in the refrigerator and feed it every 5-7 days.Typically, you want to feed the bread the night before you plan on having fresh bread.
- How to feed Starter
- 3/4 cup sugar
- 1 cup warm water
- 3 TBS. instant potato flakes
- After feeding the starter, let it sit out on counter all day or overnight before you make your bread (about 8 hours). It should bubble and foam.
- To Make Bread
- 3/4 cup sugar
- 1/2 cup vegetable oi
- 1 TBS. instant yeast
- 1 TBS. salt
- 1 cup starter
- 1 1/2 cup warm water
- 6 cups bread flour, plus additional flour (use only bread flour or your bread will not rise)
- In a large mixing bowl, combine water, sugar, sourdough starter, oil, and 1 TBS. instant yeast. Leave it for about 10 minutes, or until the yeast is active and foamy.
- Once the yeast is active, add in the salt and about 5 cups of bread flour. Mix together well. Slowly add in the last cup of flour.
- The dough will be slightly sticky, but should pull away from the bowl and hold a soft round shape.
- Quickly remove the dough from the bowl and spray it with cooking spray. Place the dough back in the bowl to rise. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap that has also been sprayed with cooking spray. This prevents any air draft drying out your dough. The spray wrap will prevent the dough from sticking once it has risen.
- Let the dough rise in a warm place until doubled in size. I will usually preheat my oven to about 120, turn it off, and stick it in there.
- Once the dough has risen, it’s time to shape your loaves. I prefer to use medium sized aluminum loaf pans. You can buy a 3 pack for .98. It’s the perfect size. Divide the loaves into 4 equal sizes. Shape into a loaf and place in a greased and flour pan.
- Cover again with greased plastic wrap and let rise for another 1-2 hours, or until doubled in size.
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees and bake for 30 minutes. Immediately remove from pans onto a cooling rack, and brush the tops with melted butter.