So now that you've made your starter, it's time to make the bread! We make whole wheat bread, but you can just make "regular" sourdough bread by not using whole wheat flour. Over the years, we tried subbing some of the oil for applesauce; however, this made for a dry bread that didn't last very long and crumbled easily. So, we are back to using the full amount of oil...not that it's that much for three loaves of bread!
Although, the total time of making the bread is a good bit, if you time it correctly, it's really not bad. It does not require much actual hands on time; you just need to be available. I usually make the dough before I go to bed and let the first proof be overnight while I sleep! That means I'm actually being productive while I sleep. Imagine that! Then I form the loaves when I get up. I used to do this on Saturday/Sunday and would let the bread rise while I was at church. However, it got to the point where the bread was OVER-RISING. This makes it really dense and VERY yeasty tasting. So...be sure that you can bake the bread BEFORE it rises over the pans or falls.
Whole Wheat Sourdough Bread
1 1/2 cups warm water
2 teaspoons yeast (1 packet)
4 cups bread flour
2 cups whole wheat flour (OR 2 additional bread flour if you don't want whole wheat)
1/2 cup sugar
1 teaspoon salt
1 cup starter
1/2 cup oil
Place water and yeast together (whisk together). Put flour, sugar, and salt in a large bowl (preferably one with a sealing top) and stir. Add starter, oil, and yeast mixture. Stir into flour. As it starts to get hard to stir, begin to knead with your hands (clean please!). Sometimes, no all the flour will go into the dough. This is okay. Just leave it there and it will combine when it rises. Cover with top and place in a warm place to rise. It rises until doubled; this takes about 8-12 hours or overnight.
After it has doubled, knead the dough until the air bubbles are out. Divide the dough into thirds and shape into loaves. Knead these loaves a couple of times. Place in bread pans that have been sprayed with cooking spray. "Punch" down the dough to be sure there are no air bubbles. Place in a warm place and cover with a towel. Let rise until the dough is at the top of the pan. This takes 2-4 hours.
Put oven on 350. Bake for 30 minutes. Remove and allow to cool. Place in bread bags and enjoy, or...
come back Wednesday for a great breakfast treat. This series will be interrupted tomorrow for ARF-Tuesday.