Homemade Bread Season

The weather is finally starting to cool here and that always makes me start thinking about vegetable soup and homemade bread. Someone asked me to share my bread recipe and I’m going to in this post.

The bread that I make is called sour dough but it isn’t a true sour dough. It is made with a starter and I will share that recipe first.

You begin with 2 pkg. of yeast and dissolve it in 1/2 cup of warm water. Next you “feed it with a cup of warm water, 2/3 cup sugar, and 3 tablespoons of instant potato flakes.

Cover and let mixture sit out on the counter all day, then refrigerate for three days. A plastic butter container works fine for this. In three days you will take the starter from the refrigerator and remove a cup (just throw it away this first time). After you have removed a cup of the mixture you will feed it again and this is how you will feed your starter from now on.

1 cup warm water

3/4 cup sugar

2 tablespoons instant potato flakes

Let the starter sit out all day again and then place back in the refrigerator. The starter has to be fed every three to five days whether you make bread or not. If you do not wish to make bread, repeat the above procedure. If you wish to make bread follow the instructions below.

Remove starter from the refrigerator and feed it and let it sit out for about 8 hours. If you have a healthy working starter, at the end of the day it should look bubbly on the top and fill the house with a yeasty smell.

Now you will remove a cup of starter and pour it into a large mixing bowl. Put the rest of the starter back in the refrigerator.

To make the bread you will add the following to the mixing bowl containing the starter:

1/4 cup sugar

1/2 cup oil

1 1/2 cups warm water

1 1/2 tsp. salt

6 cups of flour (bread flour works best but you can also use some whole wheat)
I usually add 4 cups of flour and using a wooden spoon mix the batter well till you can hold the spoon sideways and the batter kind of stretches as it drips off the spoon. This “stretchy” look happens when you have mixed the dough enough to release the gluten. You can then fold in the remaining 2 cups of flour. Cover the mixing bowl loosely with a dish towel and let rise in a warm place overnight. In the morning punch the dough down and turn it out onto a floured surface. knead it a few times and divide it into three. Knead each loaf and place into three greased loaf pans. Cover with a towel and allow to rise again for 4-6 hours in a warm place.

Bake at 350 degrees for 25 to 30 minutes.

The key is having a good warm place for the dough to rise. The level of humidity seems to have some affect as well.

The also makes wonderful rolls – just divide into nine mini-loaves, knead each and place in an 8″ X 8″ square dish and continue as you would if it were in loaf pans.

This bread makes the absolute best toast and smells soooo good!