Sourdough Bread

donnar57August 12, 2011

I am going to try my hand at sourdough bread using my bread machine. I found a starter recipe in "More Bread Machine Magic" (Rehberg & Conway), and so far, it's going well. The milk/plain yogurt mixture curdled when it was supposed to, and I added bread flour today and am letting it sit for 2 to 5 days. I guess then I can make a loaf of sourdough?

Should I go ahead and let the sourdough mix *and* bake in the bread machine? (I have a Zoji). Or would it be better to just do the dough and bake it in the oven? Our weather here has been very lovely, so turning the oven on hasn't been an issue. (I baked brownies this evening without heating the kitchen up much.)

Can I use more low-fat-oriented ingredients in the recipe? I.e. substituting natural applesauce for the fat, Splenda for the sugar, etc?

Any other sourdough tips, etc., would be appreciated. I love sourdough, though hubby only tolerates it.


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1. Personally, I wouldn't use a freshly-made starter, I would feed the starter a couple more times to make sure I had a good colony of natural yeast growing in the starter. If your starter won't double in bulk when you feed it, it's not going to raise your bread dough.

2. You don't say whether your recipe uses starter only as the leavening agent, or both starter and baker's yeast. In recipes where the bread is raised with starter, I only use my Zo for mixing the sourdough bread dough - I don't allow it to raise in the machine. As soon as it's done mixing/kneading, I remove it from the bread machine and put it in a dough-rising bucket so I can monitor the rise. It takes sourdough a lot longer to rise than it does baker's yeast risen dough. Even on the sourdough cycle on the Zo, it may not be right amount of time. Then I bake the bread in the oven.

If the recipe uses starter as a flavoring agent, and also uses a normal amount of yeast, then it should work to mix and bake in the Zo - as long as the amount of ingredients is correct for a loaf of bread.

3. Both fat and sugar have important jobs in breads. You don't say if you are making a lean dough or an enriched dough, and that would be helpful information, but I'm going to assume it's an enriched dough because it includes fat and sugar. There typically is only a small amount of each (with exceptions - such as a Portuguese Sweet Bread or brioche). The fat helps tenderize the crumb and keeps it from drying out as quickly as a lean dough. Depending on the type of bread you are making and the mixing method used, fat plays a vital part. If you want to skip the fat, don't use butter on your sliced bread after it's baked. If you want to skip sugar, don't use jelly or honey as a topping. If you are watching carbs - sugars - then don't forget the flour is jam-packed with them - as is applesauce. If you don't want sugar or fat in your loaves, choose lean bread recipes (Italian and French Breads) and skip the enriched breads (those that include sugar, fat, dairy, eggs - such as sandwich bread).

4. Splenda would NOT be a good substitute for sugar in a yeast bread. Bread isn't a good place for a no-calorie substitute. Sugar (honey, syrup) in a recipe provides food for yeast, flavor, tenderizes the crumb, keeps the crumb moist, makes the crust darker. You can't get those same results using a no-calorie sugar substitute.

If you take some time and do a Google search on - care and feeding of sourdough starter - that will give you a lot of information about making and using starters. You will quickly find it's not one thing, there are rules and broken rules for it's use, it's a contradiction and as individual as the people who use it.

Good luck with your sourdough bread. I hope you have good success and many more loaves to come...


    Bookmark   August 13, 2011 at 7:53AM
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Grainlady, Do you have a special sandwich loaf recipe that you are willing to share. I have 7-grain rolled cereal, prairie gold wheat, red winter wheat, and lots more, and a grain mill. I don't have powdered milk, but otherwise I am open to try about anything. Carol

    Bookmark   August 13, 2011 at 3:46PM
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I just posted on my blog at "The Fresh Loaf" a recipe for Sourdough Sandwich bread with the dough made in my bread machine using the dough cycle.

also some sourdough bread pictures here:

The BM I'm using doesn't have a 'bake only' cycle on it so I've never tried to make the bread in the BM. If your's has the bake only cycle then do the dough using the dough cycle, leave it in the pan to rise [at least double in size and this could take a few hours according to how fast your sourdough starter is] then bake. You should also get some "oven rise or oven spring" from the dough so don't let it rise all the way to the top of th pan before baking.

    Bookmark   November 27, 2011 at 11:30AM
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Hello Earl! Nice to see you here again!

Did you have a good tomato year?

I had a pretty good year, considering the weather.

Very nice bread. I didn't know you are such a good baker.


    Bookmark   November 27, 2011 at 9:44PM
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