A blog salad made up of sour dough bread baking advice, late afternoon light and a bit of self promotion

As I had mentioned on Friday I have been making lots of lazy sour dough bread. I wanted to just take you through the not very scary process. 

First you start with a regular bread dough. 

This is what goes into my regular bread dough.
I usually put some water in the bottom of  my green Pyrex bowl.  I inherited two of the set below  (the yellow and the green bowls)from my mother-in-law. I see that it holds 2 1/2 quarts. I used to measure out two cups of water and add them to the bowl to begin my bread baking. Now I just put water in the bowl. It's always the right amount, even if the amount varies.
I add a teaspoon of dry yeast to the water and sprinkle a tablespoon flour or some grain like oatmeal or ground barley or  a few shakes of Maypo or Wheatena on the yeasted water. The grain is food for the yeast and will allow it to bloom and do a good job raising your loaf. I like adding a grain with some texture. Go away for a few minutes. Check your email, have a cup of tea and come back and get ready to mix up your dough.

Add a couple of gluggs of oil, I use olive oil, a table spoon of salt and one of brown sugar or honey or silan ( date molasses) or regular molasses to the bowl.If you want to add a grain that isn't white flour, do it now. Bread is usually tastier when it is a mix of white flour and whole grain flour.  I know some of us ate through whole grain breads of the 1970's that felt like you were chewing silage. White flour isn't your enemy  but it tastes better whit some whole grain in the mix for character.

I find that ground up grain, works better than whole grain unless you have  really strong teeth ( or are leaving your dough to rise in the fridge over night). But I might add about a cup of one of the Bob's Red mills 6 or 8 or 12 grain hot cereals if I have it around. Today I added corn meal. Other days I have added, oats, wheat berries, or quinoa, rye or bulgher wheat.
You can take a break at this point, cover the dough with a towel  and go away for an hour or more and do things that need to get done . This is called making a sponge, because when you come back after the hour or so it looks like a sponge.

If your life, your schedule the day you are baking does not allow for this resting stage, don't worry about it.  The rest will make for a better bread but even without the rest you will get a great bread.

Now it's time to add white flour to your dough. If you can get a high gluten flour, use it.  If you can't see if you can buy some gluten in the health food store. Add a tablespoon or two  to a dough made with a low gluten flour. Knead in enough flour until you get a smooth dough. No, I can't tell you exactly how much flour you will need. It will vary from batch to batch. 

Bread is just a sturdy thing.  There are wide parameters that will all allow for a good loaf.
Let the dough hang out for another hour or two covered. 

You can also just pop the covered bowl of dough in the fridge and bake your bread tomorrow or the next day.

This morning I pulled a bowl of dough out of the fridge and formed  this loaf  out of most of the dough.
I left this much dough in the bowl.

I added some water to the bowl
and two teaspoons of brown sugar  to feed the yeast

I mixed the dough lump the water and sugar,

covered the bowl with a towel and stuck it back int he fridge. That's tomorrow's sour dough loaf.

A couple of hours later, the loaf I had formed before my workout and shower now looked like this
It grew a whole lot.
I stashed the top diagonally with a knife. This lets the steam out of the loaf. Sometimes I brush the loaf with water before I bake to get a nice chewy crust.

Turn your oven up to 410 or 425. put the loaf in the oven when the oven reaches that temperature than then turn the heat down to 385 and bake until done.
Let it cook a little before slicing. It's hard to wait, I know, but the bread slices better when cooled.

I had to run some errands in the late afternoon. The late afternoon light made the buildings on the east side of Broadway just glow.

A couple of days ago the very gracious Maria Bywater, owner of the blog sewjewish.com wrote a lovely post about me.  I am very touched by Maria's post. I loved talking with her and look forward to meeting her in real life.


  1. A lovely post; thank you Sarah. So is the one by Maria on you!


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