Monday, May 11, 2009

Sour Dough Bread with Overnight Starter

I've always been a bit intimidated by sour dough bread. The whole sour dough starter thing is kind of a commitment isn't it - a sort of yeasty pet that sits in your fridge and bubbles away. You even have to feed it. I just find the whole thing a little weird. I had a friend who's mom had a starter that had been given to her by her grandmother. Crazy. And I know that the starters used by bakers in San Francisco are incredibly old. Anywho, this sour dough bread is for the commitment-phobic. You make the starter on a one-time basis and it's ready to go after 24 hours. That's my kind of starter. Maybe someday I'll start a real starter, but for now as a novice baker I'll stick to this less intimidating sour dough bread.

*Oh this bread is also fat free and sugar free - nice, eh?!

Sour Dough Bread with Overnight Starter

1 cup lukewarm water
1 cup all purpose flour
1/4 teaspoon yeast

Combine yeast and water in a bowl. Stir until yeast dissolves. Add flour and mix. Let stand at room temperature for 24 hours.

starter (already prepared and allowed to sit for 24 hours)
2 cups lukewarm water
4-5 cups bread flour
1 teaspoon yeast
4 teaspoons salt

In the bowl of a mixer dissolve 1 teaspoon of yeast in 2 cups of lukewarm water. Add the starter, 4 cups of flour, and 4 teaspoons of salt. Knead with dough hooks on medium speed for about 2 minutes. Check consistency and add more flour as needed to form a satiny dough (I used 5 cups of flour total). Knead for another minute. Turn out dough onto a floured surface and form into a ball. Cut in half. Form each half into a ball and place on separate greased cookie sheets. Slit tops a couple of times with a sharp knife (to make it look more sour-dough-bready:)). Cover with non-stick sprayed plastic wrap and let sit till doubled in size (for me it was about 35 minutes). Bake in a preheated 400 degree oven for 50 minutes to 1 hour - until golden brown. When loaves come out of oven brush with a little melted butter if desired.

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