Sourdough Bread

makes 3 loaves or 5-6 pizza crusts

Prep time: 30 minutes

Wait time: 1 night + 2 hours + 1 hour = 15 hours. This can be stretched out if that's actually more convenient for you.

Cook time: 45 minutes

Cost: .50/loaf

(starter: nearly free--let's say: .03, flour: 1.30-1.50, oil: .02, sugar: .02) 

The night before, mix in large bowl:

1 C sourdough starter

2 C lukewarm water

2 1/2 C flour

The morning of (or afternoon or whenever the heck you get to it):

*Return 1 C of the stuff in the large bowl to your starter.

Then mix: 

1 1/2 C water

2 Tbsp sugar

1/2 Tbsp salt

2 Tbsp oil

To this add: 

10-12 C flour, but good heavens don't do it all at once. 

I start with 2 C of whole wheat flour and mix. Then I begin adding white flour in 2 C increments until it's stiff enough to knead. Take it out of the bowl and knead it, adding more flour as necessary until you get a nice big ball of dough. (For tips on kneading, have a look here. Seriously, it's therapeutic and great for your triceps. Give it a try.)

Let rise until doubled. Sometimes sourdough is slower than regular yeast doughs at rising. I noticed this at first with my dough. Now that the starter is older, however, it rises up nearly as quickly as a yeast bread. My rise time is usually about 2 hours. However, you can let it go longer if you need to. Just punch it on down when you're ready for it.

[Note: If making pizza crusts, divide it into 5-6 blobs, and roll them out into round pizzas. Then top and bake as you otherwise would. No second rise is needed. (Note: I usually make the equivalent of 3-4 pizzas and then make a loaf of bread with the leftover dough.)]

When ready, punch it down and divide into three blobs. Grease 3 bread pans and put the blobs in them in a loaf-like sort of blob. Allow to rise for another hour or so. Allow to bake at 375 for 45 minutes. 

Have a slice hot. With plenty of butter. You won't regret it. 

Posted by The Tasty Cheapskate: