Downpour Mountain

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Are you intimidated by the thought of making homemade sourdough bread? Well, there’s no need to be scared with this super easy recipe. This is one of the easiest sourdough recipes I’ve tried and is a great way to “get your feet wet” if you’re brand new to bread making. 

This rustic sourdough bread has a chewy crust and a soft center, making it the perfect bread for sandwiches and tastes AMAZING paired with any kind of soup. It is pure comfort food! This bread bakes up beautifully and is sure to impress your friends and family!

EASIER THAN You Think!

To me there is little else more comforting and homey than baking bread.  It’s one of those old time skills that our grandmothers perfected. I used to think that making sourdough bread was going to be time consuming and extremely challenging, so for a while, I was reluctant to attempt it.  Then I made the decision become more self-sufficient and I knew that cultivating my own yeast starter in order to bake my own bread was a necessary step on this journey.  I was wrong. Mostly. While making sourdough bread does take a fair amount of time, most of that time is hands off. And it’s definitely easier than I thought!

The key to that tangy flavor is the sourdough start. You can make your own, or if you’re lucky, you can get it from a friend.  

Before you begin, you want to make sure that your sourdough starter is nice and bubbly. Mine is usually about the consistency of pancake batter with lots of visible bubbles throughout, but yours may be more runny, or even thicker. What matters is that it is active and bubbly when you’re ready to bake.

HOW TO MAKE SOURDOUGH BREAD

Once you have a batch of live, active starter, making sourdough bread is actually very easy.

DOUGH. Combine the starter, a bit of honey, warm water, and salt in a large mixing bowl. Add a couple cups of all purpose flour. Let the mixture sit for 15-30 minutes, then add enough flour to make a soft dough.

RISE. Dump your dough onto a floured counter and knead a few times. Wash the bowl and spray it with non stick cooking spray. Return the dough to the bowl. Cover it with a lid, and let the dough rise and ferment for at least 6-8 hours, or up to 24 hours. I usually prepare my dough in the evening around 8pm and stick it in the oven the next morning when i get up (I’m an early riser, so like 6 or 6:30 am).

The longer it sits, the more sour your bread will be. We like a mild sourdough, so I let mine sit for around 10 hours.

BAKE. In the morning, your dough should be double or more in size from the night before and you’ll be assured that your starter was indeed active!  Then, just before I put the dough in the oven I Cut a couple of slits across the top. (If you prefer, you can cut the slits before letting the loaf rise.)

IN A DUTCH OVEN

Alternately, you can bake your bread in a Dutch oven as I have done.  Instead of rising your dough overnight in a bowl, you can place the dough in a heavy Dutch oven pan that has been sprinkled with cornmeal. Baking in a Dutch oven will result in a taller, more round loaf because the sides of the pan prevent the dough from spreading.

When your dough has finished rising, preheat your oven to 425°. Bake for 25-30 minutes, or until golden brown. If you like a darker crust, you can cook it longer. If desired, brush melted butter over the top of the bread.

(If you are baking in a Dutch oven, leave the lid on the pan for the first 15 minutes, then remove the lid and bake till bread is browned.)

Once the bread is done baking (and regardless of which method you used), remove the loaf to a cooling rack. It cuts best if it cools for at least 30 minutes.

There you have it. Making sourdough bread isn’t an exact science, so it may take you a few tries to come up with a loaf that your family likes the best.

You can make it more or less sour, with a softer crust or a crisper crust, just by tweaking a few steps. Have fun with it!

For STORING and FREEZING, be sure to wrap tightly with cling wrap or foil. You can also add it to a Ziploc bag after being wrapped to help stay fresh longer or freeze longer.

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