Saturday, January 17, 2009


My first attempt a couple of months ago at a sourdough starter was a complete failure. Last week I found Garden Girl who made it look soooo easy. So I decided to give it another go. I'm glad I did, because it turned out fabulously! You're going to love it!

Before you get to the bread making part of this whole deal, you first need to make the starter.
You'll need:
2 cups warm water
1 Tbsp sugar or honey
1 Tbsp yeast
2 cups flour
2 - 5 days of patience

Day 1:
Get yourself a big bowl. Dissolve the sugar then the yeast in the water. Gradually add the flour. .

It looked like lumpy pancake mix:

Cover the bowl with a piece of wax paper and set someplace warm. Let sit for 2-5 days, stirring twice a day

By night time Day 1:

Day 2: Really burbling along

Day 3: It separated a little and that's okay, just stir it back in.

1 cup sourdough starter
1 1/2 cups warm water (bottled)
5 1/2 - 6 1/2 cups flour
1 Tbsp salt
1 Tbsp sugar
1 tsp baking soda

Day 4:
Blend starter thoroughly. Pour 1 cup of starter into a big glass bowl and set aside. You'll deal with it in a minute, but first replenish the starter with 1/2 cup of warm water and 1/2 cup of flour. Give it a good old stir and don't worry about a few lumps. I put my bowl inside a ziploc bag that wasn't zipped tight and put it in the fridge.

To the 1 cup of starter you set aside, add your warm bottled water and 3 cups of flour. Beat vigorously. Cover tightly with plastic wrap and let it do it's thing for 2 - 24 hours. The longer the better.

18 hours later the dough (sponge) looked like this:

Blend the salt, sugar and soda into 2 cups of flour. Mix this into the sponge. This is where I abandoned the spoon and just used my hands to mix it right in the bowl. When the dough starts to hold together, turn out onto floured board and knead for 4 - 5 minutes. Add flour as needed to make a stiff dough (I only had to add 1/4 cup).

Put dough into greased bowl wrapped tightly with plastic wrap. I also put a hand towel over the bowl for extra warmth. Let rise for 2 - 4 hours.

After 3 hours I gave the dough a test poke:

It didn't spring back on me, so I knocked it down and shaped it into 2 long french bread style loaves. I Placed them on a cornmeal sprinkled (put lots on or they will stick) baking sheet, covered with a tea towel and let them rise another 2+ hours.

Preheat the oven to 450 and put a broiler pan (don't use a cookie sheet like I did - the sheet warped) on the bottom shelf to heat up.
Slash the loaves and brush with cold water.

When your oven is ready, pour 3 cups of water into that broiler pan and put the loaves in on the rack above the steam and bake for 25 minutes.

And voila! I always brush my bread with butter as soon as it comes out of the oven.
This is a really good bread!! The crust is soft and thin. The bread is moist and just yummy! I'm going to replace our usual homemade bread with this's that good!
And then for the big test...did my starter survive?! It had separated but I just stirred it in and I am now in the process of making my second batch!


  1. Man that looks good. A few questions, how do you know when the starter is ready to use? How many loafs can you get from one batch of starter?? I would like to give this bread a try, I LOVE BREAD.. Love the cabin too...hehe!!


  2. Hiya Chris: The starter didn't really get that sourdough smell until Day 3 when it separated. I'm sure you could use the starter on Day 2 but you wouldn't get that real tangy sourdough taste from your bread. The original starter made more than 2 cups. I used 1 cup for the batch of bread and when you replenish/feed your starter with the 1/2 cup of flour and water, that sucker just grows again. I'm assuming that at some point the starter will die off. I don't know. I have my second batch of bread ready to go and when I looked at the starter in the fridge this morning, it's alive and well...ready for round 3. So that's at least 6 loaves for me from 1 tbsp of yeast in the original starter. That's pretty good. Hope this helps. Let me know how you make out with the bread.
    I know you love the cabin. hehehe

  3. looks yummy....I LOVE fresh bread...unfortunately, for me that means bread I bought and ate on the same day... :)

  4. Thanks for the awesome post! i have printed the recipe and instructions and am gonna give it a try this week...will let you know how it goes!
    if my bread looks even 1/4 the way yours does - i will feel accomplished!

    keep up the awesome posts eh buddy?


  5. Janice: You underestimate yourself...let your inner Martha out!! lol

    Hey Kymber: Good for you! You'll do great, I know it! Let me know how it goes.
    Oh, do you have a blog? I hear you're Canadian too!?

  6. Looks great! My first ever batch failed but I like the look of your recipe!

  7. Hey Warren: Yeah, my first attempt (using a different method) flopped too! This recipe is soooo tasty! I think I'll try Garden Girl's sourdough english muffin recipe next. Thanks for dropping by.

  8. hey again...after doing some more research it seems that alot of people fail on their first attempt! so i won't be too bummed if mine fails!

    no...i don't have a blog...i spend too much time reading other people's blogs...but i find them so inspiring and helpful and i am learning sooo much!

    yep - you got it...a fellow canadian living in the nation's capital but planning to return home to cape breton island in the next 3-5 years and getting back to the land! until then...i do all of my "city" gardening in tires (i love re-purposing and keeping those tires from landfill sites!)

    keep up with the awesome posts...i really enjoy your blog! (i got here from the scavengers blog - now that guys blog rocks! i am a big fan of the scavenger!!!)

  9. Hey Kymber! This won't fail...I promise you! I got to visit friends in New Brunswick this past summer and fell in love with the East - first time I'd ever been past Montreal. Lucky you to come from such a lovely area!!
    Yeah...the Scavenger's okay, I guess! LOL Love the Scavenger!! My husband has nightmares of me running off to Kentucky to be part of some goat commune! lol

  10. I love making sour dough bread!!


    well normally your posts entertain and teach me something...but that last comment has me giggling and rolling on the floor! my only advice:


    oh love...i wonder when chris will see this eh? bahahah!

    and ya - the east is a lovelly area. although we call new brunswick and nova scotia "Mainlanders"...we can't help it - we are proud island people in Cape Breton and Newfoundland..but to be fair...NB and NS are lovelly places as well and i glad that you got to visit your friends!

    keep up these wickedly wonderful posts eh?

    your friend,]

  12. Hiya Peggy!! Nice of you to drop by...but shouldn't you be birthing more baby goats?! hehe You have a great blog there! I never thought to look for sourdough recipes at your place...I'll be right over. Keep up the fantastic work!

    Hey Kymber! Race yah to Kentucky! lol