My facebook friends have asked me how I do this, so here goes!
What I love about this bread recipe is that the steps are spread over two days, leaving me time to do many other things, such as laundry or shopping, between steps. It’s just more convenient for the way I live and operate. It’s also very forgiving; I once fell asleep while it was rising and it did not run everywhere, but just kept rising slowly. I guess for my slow ways, it’s just my type. Enjoy!
First the sour dough starter:
3 cups all-purpose flour
3 cups water
1 pkg. dry, active yeast
Stir together with wire whip in a non-reactive container large enough to allow for foaming, and allow to sit at room temperature, lightly covered, stirring occasionally, for 2 days. It should smell a bit like beer and double in size before receding. This will make several loaves.
Now, the bread:
On the evening of the third day, in a very large bowl, blend well:
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 cup oil (I use good quality olive oil)
1 1/2 cups warm water
1 cup starter
1 tbsp. salt
To this mixture add 6 cups bread flour and stir until it can be kneaded. Knead slightly to make a ball. Cover bowl lightly. (I use a pizza pan.)
If you plan to use your starter again the next day, feed* and cover it and leave it out. If not, place it, covered, in refrigerator; feed it and bring it to room temperature before the night you are ready to use it.
In the morning, punch down dough, knead lightly, and form two loaves in greased bread pans.
Place in oven on top rack with a 9″x13″ pan of hot water on bottom rack. Close oven. Do not turn oven on. Leave in oven until doubled in size, which may take half a day, but watch it…
Once bread has doubled in size, remove all pans from oven and preheat to 350 degrees. Then bake the bread for 30 to 35 minutes.
This bread is so good, my sons used to take it with them to college, etc. It really doesn’t need butter or jelly, although my husband and I once ate a whole stick of butter spread on this bread, in one sitting. And we only walked away from it, then, because we knew we must. I could eat this all day and all night.
When you make this, let us know how it turns out!
*To feed the starter, mix together 1 cup flour and 1 cup water, and stir into starter.