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December 11th, 2006, 06:37 PM
CBMS
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Start several days ahead of time. I start Wednesday to start my baking for Sunday night to last all week.

OK. First things first, you need a sourdough starter.

Put one cup of flour and one cup of hot water in a container (I use a shaker with a lid, and keep the lid loose, but you can use a jar with a loose lid, too). Mix well. Sit on counter and let ferment--it takes a few days. Mix it daily and smell it--it should start smelling sour by the second day. By the third day, it should smell quite sour and beery. That's a good thing.

On the third or fourth day, pour your starter into a bowl, and you add to it one cup of hot tap water and one cup of flour, mix it, and let it rest in a warm spot. After a couple hours, it'll get kind of bubbly looking (and again, it will smell very beer-like).

After it's bubbly, measure two cups into a big bowl, and put the rest into your (now cleaned out) container that you grew it in. To the leftover starter (that has been put back into the container), add 1/2 c hot tap water and 1/2 c of flour, mix, and put in the fridge. You can use it for your next sour dough starter.

To the 2 cups of starter that's in the bowl, add 4 teaspoons of sugar, 2 teaspoons of salt, and 2 tablespoons of oil, margarine, or butter (You can also omit the oil all together). After you mix this, add 1/2 c of flour and mix. Add another 1/2 c and mix, another 1/2 c and mix... until you make a nice workable dough. Mix completely after each 1/2 c addition. It may take only two cups flour, or as much as 3 1/2--depending on how wet your starter is. After it's a pliable, workable dough, knead a few minutes. Place in a bowl and let rise for a couple hours. It should double. It may take one hour or a few. Just depends on your starter. After it's doubled, punch down, knead for a minute or two, form a loaf, and put into greased loaf pan (or 46 oz. juice can--that's what I use). Allow to rise again in the pan.

Place in oven, set to 350, and bake 30-40 minutes. When it's done, it will sound hollow when tapped on the bottom. When it comes out, brush with melted butter on exposed crust (this softens it and adds flavor, but you can skip it if you want to).

Sour dough is SO STINKING CHEAP! There's no yeast, so it's very basic ingredients!! And I personally think it makes a teriffic sandwich bread. It's a little time consuming (making your starter and it takes longer to rise b/c it's naturally obtained its yeasts instead of having it added), but you can also make it work around your schedule. There's nothing at all wrong with letting it rise the first rise overnight so that you can start in the evening and finish it in the morning.
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