My longtime friend Kim recently made my family VERY happy when she passed along a quart jar of bubbly sourdough starter! Now I know why the forty-niners guarded their sourdough with their lives. For more about that be sure to check out the link.
Read no more if you are trying to avoid such scrumptious treats as the BEST caramel topped long johns you’ve ever had, deliciously fluffy pancakes and soft sweet homemade breads…
But if you want to wow the hubby and kids, and do it via these EASY recipes…keep reading!
To make your initial batch of starter, combine the following ingredients and let stand at room temperature for 24 hours, stirring only occasionally. I use a glass quart jar with a piece of cheesecloth on the top, held on by the jar ring.
- 1 envelope yeast
- 1 cup warm water (I use warm potato water)
- 3/4 cup sugar
- 4 TB instant potato flakes (I substitute about 4 TB cooked potatoes, mashed with a fork)
Store the starter in the refrigerator until ready to use, and yes, it does smell sour!
About 24 hours before you want to bake bread, take the starter from the refrigerator and “feed” it the following:
- 3 TB instant potato flakes (or 3 TB cooked mashed potatoes)
- 3/4 cup sugar
- 1 cup warm water (again, I use warm potato water)
I usually feed my starter in the morning and let it sit out on the counter all day, covered with the cheesecloth. Stir occasionally throughout the day. That evening mix up the bread dough as follows:
With a wooden spoon and a large bowl and lots of muscle, stir together these ingredients:
- 1 cup starter
- 1/2 cup oil
- 1 1/2 cups warm water
- 1/3 cup sugar
- 1 tsp salt
- 6 1/2-7 cups flour
Allow the bread dough to set out on the counter overnight–covered. Put the jar of starter back in the refrigerator until you need it again.
The following morning the dough should be ready to shape into bread, rolls, cinnamon rolls–whatever. It is also very good rolled flat, cut into rectangles and deep fried for long johns and frosted with caramel frosting:
(This could NOT be easier)
~tip–do not make this till all your long johns are fried, otherwise it will harden in the saucepan. Wait till they are fried, make the frosting and immediately spread it on the warm long johns…it spreads easily and hardens to the perfect consistency. I’m telling you, these are too good. I usually make half the dough into a loaf of bread and the rest into long johns, otherwise, it makes WAY too many long johns.
- 1/2 cup butter or margarine
- 1 cup packed brown sugar
- 1/4 cup milk
- 1 3/4-2 cups powdered sugar
Melt butter or marg. and add brown sugar. Boil over low heat, stirring constantly, 2 minutes. Add milk and stir until mixture comes to a boil. Slowly add powdered sugar, beating well after each addition. Spread on long johns and enjoy!
Allow bread or rolls to rise in warm place about 2 hours. This is after you’ve let the dough sit out for an equivalent of overnight, or 8 hours. Shape it into rolls or bread loaves and let rise 2 hours then bake rolls at 350*F for thirty minutes, bread at 400*F for 35-40 minutes. Make sure your loaves are done in the middles. :O)
This starter also makes wonderful pancakes!!
- 2 cups flour
- 2-3 TB sugar
- 1 TB baking powder
- 1 tsp salt
- 1 tsp soda
- 2 eggs, beaten
- 1 1/2 cups starter
- 3/4 cup milk
- 3 TB oil
Mix dry ingredients together, then mix liquids together and add to flour mixture. Cook on hot griddle.
This starter can also be substituted for buttermilk in recipes.
As a rule of thumb, try to use your starter at least once every 10 days. It needs fed that often to maintain a healthy, yeasty action. If you have extra, take out a cup of starter and give it to a friend with these instructions!
P.S. Most starter recipes call for a cup of white flour and a cup of warm water to be added as the weekly “feed”…I like this particular version because you use real potatoes instead of white flour. However, I’m still experimenting on using whole wheat flours. If any of you more experienced cooks out there have successfully substituted honey or some other sweetener for the starter, please tell us about it in comments! TIA!