After I started making some of my family's bread, I wanted to try making sourdough. I looked up some recipes on AllRecipes.com and found that most recipes required Sourdough starter. I had no idea what that was so I looked that up as well. Turns out that Sourdough starter is simply a mixture of flour water and yeast that you let sit in a warm place until it "sours". As I kept reading I found that you really don't need the yeast in the mixture at all, and can "collect" natural yeasts from the air to inoculate your mixture. In earlier times when yeast in a bottle or packet wasn't available, people would make this starter to allow them to make yeast bread. I didn't really want to wait to collect natural yeast so I added my own. I put a cup of flour, a cup of warm water and 1.5 tsp of yeast into a glass jar, mixed it up then put it on a plate in the oven with just the oven light on. The light warmed the oven enough to keep the whole mixture at a good temperature for the 5 days it needed to sour. After a few days the mixture smelled a lot like sourdough so I thought I'd give bread a try. I found a recipe for a simple sourdough bread for a bread machine and modified it to use an oven.
Simple Sourdough Bread
3/4 Warm water
1.5 tsp active dry yeast
1 tsp sugar
1 C sourdough starter
1.5 tsp salt
2.5 C Whole Wheat flour
1. Add sugar and yeast to warm water and let bloom for about 10 minutes
2. Add yeast mixture to starter then add Flour and salt to wet ingredients.
3. knead for about 5-10 minutes until dough is elastic. form into a ball and put into a greased bowl. cover with towel and let sit for an hour or 2 until dough has doubled.
4. punch dough down, form into loaves, rolls or other shapes and put onto greased pizza stone or cookie sheet.
5. bake for about 30-45 minutes in 350 degree oven.
To go with our sourdough bread we had some of the miner's lettuce from the garden, which was very yummy. This lettuce is very tender and has a mild flavor. According to the seed packet it also contains a lot of Vitamin C.
And to top that off we had Linkshire sausage from http://properbritishbacon.com/. Yum!