Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Sourdough Sucess!

If you have been following along here at Home Joys for a while, you may remember some of my dismal sourdough failures.

In the past several years, I have tried four times to start my own sourdough starter - to capture some wild yeast to put to work in making bread. I've learned a lot but mostly I've made a lot of bread that was fit for nothing but croutons or bread crumbs! My best results, by far, was with Peter Reinhart's recipe in his newest book. That starter actually worked but it was very slow and the results with 100% whole wheat bread were not so great. I think if I would have continued to use it, it may have gained strength and eventually become a good starter.

I've considered buying a starter but never did. Then about two weeks ago, Old Sourdough left a comment offering to send a sourdough starter. I didn't get too excited. I mean, who gives something away for free. It probably wouldn't work anyway. But I gave my address and just a few days later, received a package in the mail. In the envelope was a small bag of white powder which supposedly was dehydrated sourdough. I certainly didn't have high hopes, but I followed the directions to build it up for a few days then tried baking a loaf of bread.

And this is the result!!! A beautiful loaf of bread on the first try!!!

I had been feeding my starter with my freshly ground whole wheat flour. The first loaf I made with one cup white flour and one cup whole wheat flour. Yesterday I made another loaf, this time with all whole wheat and the result was another beautiful loaf!

This bread was the simplest bread I've ever made! Just dump 2 cups sourdough starter, 2 cups flour, and 1 tsp salt in a mixer with a kneading hook. Mix for 15 minutes. Add a tsp or 2 of water if it is too dry. Dump into bowl to rise for 2 hours. Form into a loaf. Rise for another 2 hours and bake! Then try not to eat the loaf all in one sitting!

Now you may be wondering, why bake with sourdough?

  • It is cheap - no need to buy yeast!
  • It is supposedly better for you then yeast. But I'm no doctor.
  • It tastes GOOD!
And that is enough reasons enough for me!

I'm still a beginning sourdougher. Next I want to try sourdough waffles. If any of you want to join me, ask Old Sourdough for your own free sourdough starter - or, if you live nearby, stop in at my house. My sourdough is bubbling in it's bowl and I'd be glad to share!

(I know my husband is going to give me a hard time about all the exclamation points I've used in this post! Can you guess that I'm excited?)


  1. That bread looks absolutely beautiful and I know you must be so proud of it. Now you have a constant source for the bread. That has to be a very satifying feeling. I am inspired to try again myself.

  2. Congratulations on your sourdough success! I've recently begun cooking with sourdough and am very happy with the results, so far. But, that loaf of bread you made is gorgeous! I'd like to try that. How long did you cook it for and at what temperature?

    Thanks, Pam

  3. I can see why you are excited! What a beautiful loaf of bread!

  4. Had to laugh about the exclamation points comment...sounds like my husband! :)

    I love sourdough. You just can't beat the taste. Just curious, is there any other way to feed it than by using fresh ground wheat? That is not really an option for me, but I am interested in making some sourdough bread again.

  5. Pam-
    I guess I should have made the recipe more clear! I used Old Sourdough's recipe on his website. I started baking the bread at 425 for 15 minutes, then turned it back to 375. Old Sourdough said to bake it for 40 minutes but I thought it was done in 25 minutes. But I'm still learning! And I'm bad at underbaking bread! When I have it all worked out perfectly, I'll post more details!

    The recipe I used called for white bread flour. I'm sure any flour would work, I just specified what flour I used to show that whole wheat flour is an option instead of white flour.


  6. I am going to try this for sure...already asked Old SOurdough for a starter :).
    Thanks for posting this,
    Jenna P in AL

  7. That bread looks nice and crusty on the outside but so soft on the inside - perfect! I'll have to get some sourdough starter too. I go through alot of yeast so I'll feel the cost savings for sure. Thanks for your lovely blog :)

  8. Thank you for the encouragement. I have tried and failed two times recently when trying to start my own. I just requested some from Old Sourdough. I am glad to know that you used whole wheat flour. That is what I used too and when it didn't work I thought maybe it was because I was using Fresh ground whole wheat. Try and try again!

  9. Your sourdough bread looks delicious! I have some sourdough rising on the counter myself. :) I had great success with Peter Reinhart's Pineapple Juice Solution using rye flour. I'm getting ready to convert it to whole wheat as we're out of rye flour right now. I'm always game to try other sourdough starters, though, so I'll have to hop on over to Old Sourdough! :) Thank you for sharing with us.

  10. Hi there! I'm a newbie to your blog (love it!)

    I recently received my starter from Old Sourdough (thanks for the link) I'm stumped on feeding it though. I've been giving it 1/4 cup of flour & 1/4 cup of water a day. I didn't see any hints on his site. can you share what you did?

  11. Debbie -
    You can find Old Sourdough's directions in a down-loadable pdf. I'm still learning - but this is how I do it. If I have my starter out at room temperature, I feed it twice a day. Usually about 1/2 to 1 cup of both water and flour. If I don't want to use it for a while, I place it in the fridge and feed every week. I always let it sit at room temperature for at least eight hours after feeding it.
    Hope that helps!

  12. Well, I'm in..Sourdough has intrigued me over the years..but mine never turned out either. Hope springs eternal. I popped over the the Old Sourdough site...that is some very nice looking starter. Thank you for sharing the information..I look forward to receiving mine...and how nice of the Old Sourdough to share the starter....when I get it, I will be sure to give his blog a notation on my blog..and pass the word.

  13. Gina, I know this is an old post that I'm reading and commenting on, but I am still wanting to try some sour dough recipes and I'm a Peter Rheinhart fan. Two questions:

    1) is that recipe from his book Whole Grain Breads or a different book?

    2) when you made this with whole wheat, was it store bought or did you grind it yourself? I ask because I find that store bought whole wheat has a different result than when I grind it myself. And it doesn't seem to matter what kind of wheat I use. I believe it has to do with the germ or amount of germ left in the flour when I grind my own. I actually talked to Peter about this when I took the seminar class from him, but he did not have experience with freshly ground flour and didn't see the use in it (sorry, but I respectfully disagree with him on that one). I'm committed to grinding my own, but can't seem to figure out how to adjust recipes.
    Thanks for your help!

  14. Just ordered something today for sourdough starter to try out myself. Looking forward to seeing how this experiment goes.

  15. The link for Old Sourdough doesn't work .... sad now.


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