We’ve got French bread going in the oven,
and now I’m going to show you how to make sourdough bread. The difference in sourdough
and most other breads is simply the type yeast. In this case, you have to make a starter first,
and capture your own yeast from the wild. That’s what is going to make your bread leaven,
or or rise. With French bread, or white bread, or sandwich bread, we go to the store and
we get the commercial stuff, and that’s fine. But there is a truly unique and fabulous flavor
to sourdough bread. I love it. It’s incredibly easy to do. To make a starter,
and this is where you are going to get yeast that is going to stay forever in your kitchen
as long as you take care of it and give you bread. Love it. All you have to do is get
a clean container. Make sure it’s glass or plastic. I love using little Mason jars. You
can see what is going on in there, and the have the lids so you can poke a hole in it
if you need to, because they do need to breathe later. Put a cup of flour and a cup of warm
water in here, and stir it up. That’s it, you’ve made a starter. You set it on the counter
and keep it in a warm spot. By warm it just means room temperature. For
a sourdough starter, it’s really hard to kill it off. If you let it get too hot, that will
do it. Otherwise, once a day while you are waiting on the right thing to happen for your
wild yeast, and I’ll tell you what that is in just a second, all you have to do is pour
off half of it and put in a fresh half cup of flour and a fresh half cup of warm water.
Stir it up, and walk away. Think of it this way. You’re after wild yeast,
and you want to set up the right conditions for them to come land in your jar, and you
want to make sure that you keep fresh food and water in there for them in case you catch
them. You know that you’ve caught them when you get this on top of your starter jar. You
see how we’ve got it bubbly? I have just stirred him up, but hang on and let me grab the other
one that hadn’t been stirred. You see how that’s gotten kind of puffy and foamy on top?
The other indication, smell it. You can actually smell it, and it smells like
sourdough bread. There is a little sour, [inaudible 02:34] kind of thing there. A few days ago
I caught my starter yeast and I was so excited. We’ve got sourdough starter and it’s really
simple to get it going. Once you have gotten it going, you have to get ready to make your
bread. This is also really simple. What we are going to do, take our starter and he just
goes in a big clean bowl. I like to think of starters as you’ve caught fairies. The
reason is, they are going to live in your refrigerator, they are going to give you bread,
you do have to feed them, and they don’t like metal, just like in the Victorian fairy stories. The next step, once you’ve got your starter
going and you’re ready to start making your bread, you need to proof your sponge. That
sounds really fancy. A sponge is really a warm batter that is fermenting. You might
have used beer, or you might have used commercial yeast, or you might have used sourdough. If
it’s a batter consistency, if it’s warm, and it has yeast, it’s a sponge. Proofing simply
means you are going to get your yeast going. This is all you do for that. A cup of flour
and a cup of water. You notice we’re starting and proofing both
we are still on two ingredients, flour and water. When I lived on the west coast, it
took about 10 days for my sourdough starter to catch the yeast and go where I want it.
Here in Tennessee it took about 36 hours. Different parts of the country have different
strains of wild yeast, and that is why different stages of this process take different amounts
of time. It doesn’t matter, it’s still extremely simple. I will be back in just a minute. I
have a French bread ready to come out, and that is simply going to sit in a warm place
until it’s ready. We waited around until our sponge, which is
our warm batter with yeast in it, has proofed. This means that the yeast has gotten active
and bubbly. Again, you can smell it. It smells like sourdough bread, which I just think is
the coolest thing ever. You mix flour and water, I mean it’s paste for God’s sake. Stick
it on your counter, and magic, I love it. When you have this at this stage, you are
ready to make the bread. There is a very important step. I’ve done this several times, don’t
do that, what I do. Make your starter for the next batch of bread. All you do is get your little jar out again,
and you want half a cup of warm water and half a cup of flour. To that you are going
to add one cup of your sponge. I like these little jars because they are pre-measured
and marked. I’m stirring him up and by tomorrow this sponge will be where this sponge is today.
I’m done with bread baking for the next few days, so what I’m going to do is put a lid
on to both of these. They are going to go in my refrigerator with a couple holes poked
in the lids because they do need to breathe. Remember, they are alive, you’ve got your
fairies in there. Then they will park. The cold is not going
to hurt them. If you don’t use them for a while, what you have to do is, say a week
goes by and you haven’t baked bread and you’re not going to. Pour off half of your starter,
or put it in a jar for somebody else. Feed both starters, or get rid of one if you don’t
need it, and stick it back in the fridge. Remember to feed it half a cup of flour and
half a cup of water. Over here we have stuff ready to make our bread. I know I said no
metal, it doesn’t count at this point. You are OK now, you can use metal. It will react oddly if you are keeping your
starter or proofing your sponge, but this point you are good. That’s about two cups
of starter, it doesn’t matter, because remember flour is very variable. It will absorb differently
on different days, so we are after a texture and a look instead of an exact amount. We
have about two cups of starter, we have two tablespoons of sugar, and remember sugar will
feed yeast, they love it. Salt, about half a teaspoon. It simply makes it taste good.
Don’t use too much salt because you will retard the action of the yeast. The cool thing about
making your own bread is if you like it a little sweeter, add more sugar. I’ve seen
recipes that call for three to five tablespoons. It’s too sweet for me, I like the savory better.
About half a cup at a time, I’m going to add three cups of flour. Its the five to three
ratio thing for classic bread baking. The difference with this and a regular loaf of
bread is I’m going to ease this into the batter. Lumps are no big deal when you’re dealing
with your starter or proofing your sponge, but you really don’t want them at this point.
Give you batter time to incorporate the flour. That’s all I’m going to do. See, my starter
is getting there, about like that. Add a little bit more, say half a cup. That’s it, and I’ll
be back in a minute to show you what it looks like. I have in about two and a half cups of flour,
and it looks about like this. This is where we are going to add our final ingredient.
Add about two tablespoons of olive oil. You can use any kind of oil you want. You can
use butter, you can use lard, you can skip the oil because you are going to incorporate
a little bit of oil later on as the bread rises in an oiled bowl. The oil makes it have
a very strange texture for a few minutes, be patient and keep kneading. See, it’s gotten
lumpy. Let me show you that close. See here, very sticky too. What I am going to do is probably give it
about a quarter cup, and let it finish kneading. I’m going to finish kneading him up, show
you the texture you are looking, and let it rise.