Sourdough From Scratch

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Sourdough From Scratch

Reading Time: 5 minutes

By Jenny Underwood – Baking bread has to be one of my favorite things to do (and eat), and while I love all types of bread, sourdough from scratch is my absolute number one! Why? It’s versatile, simple, and amazingly delicious, not to mention super healthy for you. It’s also incredibly cheap to make because it doesn’t require many ingredients. With all of these reasons to love sourdough, you may be thinking, but what about a starter? Aren’t they hard to make and keep? I’m so glad you asked.

First off, sourdough has been around for a long time. No one knows exactly, but I’m betting pretty close to the beginning of time. How someone thought to make sourdough or if it came about by accident isn’t known either, but I do know that sourdough is a simple and easy starter to make and keep happy.

Here’s how to make a delightful starter with just a few ingredients. (Note: I use pineapple juice because it helps your starter get going faster and produces a sourdough that isn’t too sour.)

  • 1⁄4 cup flour (I use freshly ground Prairie Gold, but you can use anything you want as long as it’s all- purpose.)
  • 1⁄4 cup pineapple juice
  • Wide mouth canning jar

Mix the flour and juice together to form a thick batter. Pour in the canning jar and cover with a piece of muslin or a clean dishcloth fastened on with a rubber band. (There are special lids with mesh for canning jar ferments, and that’s what I use and love.)

Allow the mixture to sit in a cool, dark place. Add 1⁄4 cup of flour and 1⁄4 cup of juice each day for five days. Stir each time and replace the lid. By around the fifth day, it should start bubbling. Your sourdough starter from scratch is now active, but immature.

Now you can start adding one cup of flour and one cup of water during your feedings. You will feed the first full feeding without discarding, but after that, you will need to discard one to one-and-a-half cups each time and add back equal amounts of flour and water. In the beginning, it will encourage a very active starter if you do this daily or every couple of days. After four to six weeks, you will have a mature starter that you can feed just once a week, which can make a delicious sandwich loaf without any added yeast. Before it’s mature, you can still make lots of yummy loaves of bread that don’t require such a high rise.

SOURDOUGH PIZZA CRUST

  • 1 1⁄2 cups sourdough starter
  • 1 1⁄2 cups cool water
  • 3-5 cups flour
  • 1 tablespoon raw sugar
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 teaspoons sea salt

Mix together the sourdough starter and water.
Then add two cups of flour and sugar. Mix well and let sit covered for an hour. Then add in oil, salt, and enough flour to form a thick dough. Either knead in an electric mixer or by hand for two minutes adding flour as needed. Remember, it’s easier to add in flour if it’s too wet, but harder to add moisture if it’s too dry. Sourdough is a stickier dough and benefits from not adding too much flour.

After it’s smooth, coat in olive oil and place in a covered bowl to ferment. If possible, allow eight hours, but if you can’t wait, you can roll it out and use it after an hour. It’s perfect to do this the night before and bake for breakfast or lunch or mix it up in the morning and have it for supper.

Now it’s time to roll out the dough onto greased pizza stones, iron skillets, or pizza pans. (This makes two large thin crusts or two smaller thick crusts.) Cover with sauce, cheese, and toppings and bake at 420 degrees F for 20 minutes or until golden. You’ll never go back to regular pizza crust after this!

You can also use a sourdough from scratch starter in place of milk in biscuits or pancakes. Simply add the starter in where it calls for milk. Add the baking powder or starter right at the end because it will cause a tremendous rise when it reacts together (because of the acidity), and you want that to happen when it is going in the oven or pan, not sitting on the counter. For the perfect sandwich bread, you need your mature starter. You can make this before your starter is mature, but it won’t rise much.

  • 1 1⁄2 cups sourdough starter
  • 1 1⁄2 cups water
  • 1 tablespoon raw sugar
  • 1⁄4 cup olive oil
  • 3-5 cups flour
  • 2 teaspoons salt

A word on ingredients here — I use freshly ground 100% whole wheat Prairie Gold flour, pink Himalayan salt, extra virgin olive oil, raw sugar, and unchlorinated water. Of these, the unchlorinated water is an absolute must, but you can use whatever flour, sweetener, oil, and salt you prefer.

Mix your starter and water together. Add in one cup of flour and sugar. Mix well and let sit until bubbly (45-60 minutes). Add in oil, salt, and enough flour to make a thick dough. Knead on bread setting in an electric mixer for two minutes or by hand until smooth. When I use my mixer, I only knead the two minutes, pour my sticky dough onto a floured counter, and knead by hand until smooth. Divide into two pieces. Roll out about an inch thick, then roll up jelly roll-style and tuck in the ends. Place in greased loaf pans, turning to coat with oil, and cover. Let rise in a warm place for eight hours or overnight. Bake in an oven at 385 degrees F for 30 minutes or until golden. I put mine in the cold oven, then turn it on as it seems to help the dough rise more. Brush the tops with melted butter. Allow to sit in the pan for five minutes, then remove to a baking rack to cool. Cool for at least 30 minutes before cutting for your best results. Store in a large plastic bag, aluminum foil, or bread box. It will keep for several days. One of the great things about sourdough from scratch is it allows me to eat bread without digestive problems.

My husband can eat sourdough too, without getting heartburn. I’ve also read that sourdough positively affects blood sugar levels because it slows the release of sugars. For me, it’s a huge time saver, money saver, and it tastes awesome! How can you go wrong with food like that?

Have you tried making sourdough from scratch? How did it turn out? We would love to hear from you in the comments below!

Originally published in Countryside January/February 2022 and regularly vetted for accuracy.


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