I wish I could tell you that we are almost done, but believe me it is easy to follow and simple to put together..... but like all GOOD things it will just take a little while longer to make your Perfect bread! I tell myself it is the perfect opportunity to multi task in between steps & get a good nights sleep :0)
Homemade Sour Dough Bread
This recipe will make 4 loaves - divide by 2 if you want only 2 loaves
Now that your starter mix has been sitting for at least 8 hours, you can Prepare the "sponge".
2 cups starter into a deep pan or pail, reserving 1 cup for future feeding and use) in the bottom of your quart jar.
2 cups of water
1 to 1-1/2 cups of flour
A large mixing bowl - I let it stand in my mixer.
Pour starter and water into a large mixing bowl. Add enough flour to make a batter about the thickness of pancake batter. Cover and let stand overnight or at least 8 hours.
Take the remaining 1 cup of reserved starter mix add 1tsp of salt and 2 TBS of sugar to feed the yeast, put the lid on & store in the refrigerator. Feed this one time per week by taking out of the fridge adding the warm water, yeast and sugar as described in the "Sour Dough Starter Mix" article.
I like to do this before I go to bed on Friday then start the "getting ready to bake process" early Saturday morning so I have lots of time to let it rise a couple of times before baking the loaves.
After the sponge has sit for at least 8 hours - you will need to prepare the dough.
8 - 10 cups of flour (depends on how you measure) If you weigh your flour you will need 2 1/2 lbs.
4 TBS of Crisco - You can substitute and use olive oil or butter or a combination with applesauce / olive oil for a healthier option.
4 TBS sugar
1 TBS salt - I used unIodized Kosher salt
Combine all dry ingredients into a large mixing bowl and mix in thoroughly. Add shortening and mix well until it has a grainy look to the dough.
If you are going to use your stand mixer, make sure you have a 4 loaf mixer, or you will be pushing it to its mechanical limit. If you are mixing it by hand you can just start adding in your sponge to the dry mix. I used my mixer which saves my neck and arm muscles from hurting the next day! Here is the process I used.
After mixing the dry ingredients and adding the shortening, salt and sugar I turned on my mixer on #2 - Medium low. I began adding the flour mixture 1 cup at a time, after I had all of the flour added in, I increased the mixer speed to 4. I dusted the bowl with about another 1/2 cup of flour occassionaly as I was waiting for the dough to finish stiffening up. Once it gets to the right consistency, it will be springy to the touch and will pull away from the bowl instead of sticking to it. At this point it is done. YES!!!
Rub on a little olive or veg. oil all over the ball of dough. Place in a large mixing bowl, cover with plastic or a clean kitchen towel. Place in a warm place that is not drafty (oven works good for this) and let it rise for an hour or two, until it is at least double the size.
Punch the dough back down and get your 4 loaf pans out and spray them or rub them down with your oil (I use olive oil).
Divide the dough into 4 equal portions. I rolled it down with my hands (a rectangle) until it was as wide as the length of my pan and rolled it out about 2 times the length.
Now roll it up, each turn of the dough pinch the ends together. Now pat it and place it into your loaf pan. Cover the loaves and let them sit in a warm place for about another 1-2 hours until it is double the size of it again. Once they have finished rising and look nice and airy you are READY TO BAKE!! WOOO HOOO
Preheat oven to 325
Bake for 1 hour
Place the 4 loaves in the oven, keep an eye on them & after about 20 minutes if it is appearing that the top is browning already, turn your oven down to about 300 - I had to do this as my oven seems to cook hotter and faster than most, in all the recipes I use.
I store my loaves in 2 1/2 gallon size bags. I keep 2 out and place 2 in my freezer for the end of the week.