February 25, 2009

Sourdough Whole Wheat Grain Bread

I have always enjoyed baking bread but recently my neighbor shared her sourdough starter with me. Before this experience I had only thought of sourdough starter as used in, well, sourdough bread, which I do love, but come on how many loaves of sourdough bread can one eat? So I figured I would use it for sourdough pancakes and sourdough bread occasionally. To learn more about starter, go here.
Boy oh boy, do I have a lot to learn about starter! A quick search on the Internet let me know there were waaaay more options than I realized. Starter is really just another way of saying yeast, albeit wild yeast in this case. Once you realize that, the sky is the limit. I really love sourdoughhome.com to learn about the basics and some wonderful recipes. The yummy whole wheat recipe above is adapted from the one my neighbor and her daughter-in-law came up with.

Whole Wheat Bread

4 c white bread flour
2 c whole wheat flour
1/2 c wheat germ
1 tsp salt
1 Tbsp flaxseed meal
1c starter
1 1/2 c warm water
1/2 c oil
1/3 c sugar
2 Tbsp sunflower seeds

Combine flours, wheat germ, salt, flaxseed in large bowl and whisk together. Add starter, water, oil and sugar and knead bread well either by hand on lightly floured surface or with a large stand mixer and bread hook until smooth and elastic. Let rise in oiled bowl (just spray well with cooking spray) covered with plastic wrap overnight (or around 12 hours) in a warm draft free place. The inside of your oven with the light turned on works well. Then gently deflate and shape into two oiled loaf pans. Lightly press sunflower seeds on top and cover with oiled plastic wrap. Let those rise for 6-8 hours and bake at 350 degrees for 30 mins. Let cool in the pan for 5 mins and then tap out on a cooling rack. When cool cut with serrated knife and enjoy. 

Any bread made with starter will keep longer than a loaf made with commercial yeast. That's why the settlers and homesteaders like using sourdough!

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