Monday, March 24, 2014

Mom's Sourdough Bread, Part 1

  This stuff... This stuff is a real treat. You can't beat homemade bread, fresh out of the oven, the whole house filling with it's warm, heavenly aroma. Their golden tops glisten with melted butter that drips slowly down the side. I usually can't resist having a slice (or several) about three whole minutes after it's out of the pans. This isn't really a typical sourdough starter... it comes out softer and sweeter than you expect when you hear 'sourdough.' I think (but don't quote me on this) that it's called sourdough more because of the method... starter, fermentation, etc. Don't be intimidated though,  IT'S SO EASY!!

I think my oldest memories of this bread goes back to my childhood, circa 1997... Peachtree Drive, a little house outside Atlanta, Georgia, visiting my Aunt. She would make this bread, then in the mornings we would have it toasted, slathered with butter, with farm fresh eggs, sunny side up. Mmm! Still a favorite of mine!

For years after that my mom would make it, off and on. We almost always knew someone else who had a starter to share, in the cases where something happened and her started died, or she decided to take a break from making it and threw her starter out. It was always pretty easy to get another one.

Enter present day - Mom doesn't have the starter. I live 500 miles away from anyone else I know of who might have it. And I have a craving for that familiar soft, warm, buttery deliciousness. So what else am I gonna do than try and make it myself? I mean, what's a girl to do? I dug out my copy of her instructions and started meditating...

If that's all it takes to feed the starter, maybe that's all the starter really is. Fermented sugar, water, and potato flakes. So I mixed them together excitedly, let it sit on the counter a full 12 hours, and continued on with the recipe! I WAS GONNA HAVE THE SOURDOUGH BREAD!! 
About 32 hours after I started, I ended up.... with a soggy lump of flat dough, and a heart full of disappointment. 

It didn't keep me down though, no ma'am, I am more determined than that! After some intensive internet searching, (ok, it was actually really easy to find) I discovered the secret! I found it here. Her recipe is really close to my mom's, just with the additional info - you have to 'start' the starter with yeast! Makes perfect sense, right?
So I did it all over again, this time making the addition of 2 1/4 teaspoons yeast. I let it sit out for two days this time, then refrigerated it for another three days before feeding, splitting, and making the bread. But boy was it worth the wait! 

Come back tomorrow for the whole recipe and the rest of my process! 

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