Old-Fashioned Sourdough Recipe

Yeast is a living organism and is present in the air in most kitchens. You can prepare your own yeast mixture by simply mixing a couple of cups of Warm Water with about the same amount of white, unbleached flour, and putting the mixture in a warm place with temperatures of about 75-85 degrees.  Cover with a piece of light clean cloth, and in four to five days you will notice tiny bubbles coming to the top of the mixture. These are the yeast spores working, and they will impart a distinctive alcoholic aroma to the flour and water. Be sure to use a large container when working with your sourdough, otherwise some morning you might find that the mixture has run over and onto the floor!  Once you are satisfied that your yeast starter is brewin’, either use part of it for bread making or put it in a cool spot and use some of it at least every two weeks.

If you use it this seldom, the refrigerator is probably the best place to keep it. Do not use a glass jar with a tight lid for storage. The fermentation will continue, although at a slower pace, and can shatter or crack the jar.  The longer you keep and use your mix, the more fragrant it becomes. If liquid separates from the more solid mass, simply mix together. It is a good idea to label the container so your family members will know that it contains your starter mixture.  The starter, once brewing well, is very hardy. Like all commercial yeast, temperatures above 95 degrees could kill it. Here is a simple recipe to start your actual bread making. You might want to develop your own once you get familiar with the process.

Sourdough White Bread - Ten to twelve hours before the actual breadmaking take:
1 cup of your sourdough starter mixture, 
2 cups warm water, 2 to 2 1/2 cups of plain white flour.
Mix well and let sit in a warm spot for ten to twelve hours, covered with plastic wrap.  After that time, stir the mixture and remove one cup of this new batter and add it back to your sourdough starter mixture. Now you are ready to prepare your bread. To the batter left in the bowl add:
a small pinch sugar,
2 teaspoons salt,
1 1/2 cups warm, reconstituted, non-fat, dry milk,
2 tablespoons melted butter or oleo,
about 4 cups of plain flour.
Mix the flour into the wet ingredients until the mass is too stiff to stir. Flour the kneading surface and add 1 1/2 cups more flour. Keep kneading until dough becomes smooth and does not readily stick to the board.
Oil a 4-6 quart bowl and place the dough in the bowl. Turn the dough so it is completely covered with oil.
Cover with plastic wrap, then with a towel, return the dough to the warm spot until it has about doubled in bulk. Rising time will be about 2 to 2 1/2 hours.
When the dough is double in bulk, punch it down again. Return it to the bowl and let it rise again for 30-45 minutes. Turn the dough out onto the kneading surface and cut into two equal portions. Shape loaves by your usual method. Grease your bread pans, put in the dough and brush with butter if desired. Let rise in a warm spot for about one hour.
Bake at 375 degrees for about 35 to 45 minutes, or until loaves are nice and brown. Take bread out of the oven and remove from the pans, put on wire rack, and butter tops. For a softer crust, cover with a dish towel.


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