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There’s the running joke that since the pandemic began, the fad has been to learn how to make sourdough bread, especially since the supply of yeast seemed to vanish. All joking aside, sourdough bread has been on my to-learn list for a long time. It definitely is a bit more finicky than a regular yeast bread, like our half and half sandwich bread, but after a lot of trial and error, I’ve figured out a recipe that not only tastes wonderfully sour, it rises, is crunchy and chewy and practically perfect in every way (AND without any weird ingredients).


For the starter
1 cup bread flour
1 cup room temperature water
1 teaspoon yeast
1 teaspoon white sugar
Mix well and let it sit on the counter for 24 hours, loosely covered (we used a large canning jar, a ring, and some plastic wrap over the top to prevent anything from falling in). “Feed” the starter once a day by taking out 1/2 cup of the starter, then adding back 1 cup bread flour and 1 cup water, making sure to stir well. Continue daily for a week before use. Once the starter is ready, it can be stored in the fridge. Feed it once a week, stir well, and/or use it to make sourdough (if it starts getting full, take out a cup of starter before you feed it). Every once in a while, feed it another teaspoon of sugar to give the yeast something to feed on. The starter can be maintained indefinitely if cared for.

***Note: the starter will separate and have a brownish liquid float to the top, called the hooch–just stir it back in before using. If mold forms on the starter, discard and begin the starter again.***

For the bread
1 cup active sourdough starter (see above)
2 1/4 +/- cups lukewarm water
6 cups flour
3 teaspoons salt

In a mixing bowl, stir together the starter and water (I have had the most success with sourdough bread when I use the starter about half an hour after I’ve fed it–I usually make a loaf once a week). With a wooden spoon, stir in the flour and salt–you may need to use your hands to fully incorporate the flour. It should be slightly tacky but firm. Adjust water or flour accordingly–it shouldn’t need more than a few tablespoons of either. Do not knead this bread–only incorporate ingredients. Let rest for half an hour, then stretch a few times and form into a loaf-shaped ball. Let rest eight hours. In a large cast iron skillet with a lid (mine is 12 inches in diameter, so rather large), oil lightly with canola oil and sprinkle corn meal to prevent sticking. Carefully move the dough to the cast iron, cover with lid, and let rest about 12 hours or overnight. When ready, preheat the oven to 450F. Bake the bread for 30 minutes with the lid on. For a crispier crust, remove the lid and bake an additional 15 to 20 minutes (or keep the lid on for a softer crust). When baked through, remove from oven and place loaf on cooling rack. When cooled, slice and serve with ramp butter, cheese, jam, make into bruschetta, serve with soup, or eat plain.
Mmm…ramp butter.




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True stories of raising children, remodeling, braving the elements and plotting out life, all while living on a humble acreage in central Indiana.

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