The road ends, but the journey continues...

Fun with Sourdough

I love to cook and bake.  Since I have featured my homemade sourdough breads in two previous articles (click on recipe name for article or here & here), I thought it appropriate to share my original recipes.  Also included is a muffin/quick bread recipe that I adjusted to help use up excess starter.  (Which is great with a cuppa joe!)

The following recipes assume one has sourdough starter on hand (Mother).  If not, there are numerous ways of obtaining some, including starting one’s own via bread cookbook recipes.  However, sourdough starter is kind-of the ‘zucchini’ of the baking world.  When one begins baking with homemade starter, it usually overtakes the kitchen!  Hence the infamous ‘Friendship’ breads make their rounds among neighbors periodically with an accompanying ziplock baggie containing 1 – 2 cups of starter. 

Are you ready to have some fun?

Sourdough Stuff From Laura

In General: Feed Mother every 4-5 days and each time after starter has been used in a recipe with: 1c flour, 1c milk, 1/3c sugar.  Set on counter or in fridge with top slightly askew.  Starter can be frozen (but doesn’t always thaw-out back alive!) just be sure to thaw 1-2 days before use and to replenish before freezing.  Also, Mother does not like anything metallic!
It requires some deliberate pre-planning in order to bake up a loaf of my True Sourdough Bread.  To that end, I begin a batch of the “Easy” Sourdough Bread and feed Mother.  While waiting for her to arrive at peak frothiness within 4-8 hrs, I continue with the “Easy” loaves, often placing them in the oven at the same time as I begin a batch of the True Sourdough Bread.  While the “Easy” loaves are baking, I get the True Sourdough ready for its first rise and set it aside until the next day to finish its process.  (I try to time it to where Mother’s peak frothiness occurs between 5-7pm, as it allows for an overnight first rising with a second rising and baking the next morning) Meanwhile, 2 loaves of “Easy” Sourdough are ready to be served fresh from the oven or set aside to give as gifts.

 “Easy” Sourdough Bread

My 'easy' sourdough bread

My ‘easy’ sourdough bread

1 packet (1 T) dry yeast
¼ c warm water
1 t sugar
1 egg
¼ c vegetable oil
½ c water
1 t salt
1/3 c sugar
1 c Mother
3 ½ c flour
Dissolve yeast in warm water, stirring in the 1t sugar.  Let this sit 15 minutes.  Mix the egg, vegetable oil, water, salt and 1/3c sugar in a large mixing bowl.  Add Mother to the egg mixture along with the yeast mixture.  With electric mixer thoroughly blend in 2c of the flour.  Add remaining flour and mix with a wooden spoon.  Turn onto floured board and knead 10-20 times.  Add a bit more flour if still sticky.  Grease mixing bowl.  Put dough in bowl turning it to make sure the top of the dough is greased.  Cover bowl with cloth and let rise 2hrs in a warm place.  After dough has risen to double in bulk punch down and pour onto floured board and knead again for 2 minutes.  Divide into 2 balls to shape into bread or rolls and place on well-greased baking sheets.  Cover and let rise 2 more hours in a warm place.  Right before placing in oven, slit tops of loaves.  Bake at 350 degrees for about 20-25 minutes, but keep an eye out because each oven is different, may take longer.

Note:  This tastes great, just not like how I associate real sourdough bread to taste like!

my homemade sourdough bread

My homemade sourdough bread

True Sourdough Bread

3 c flour
2 t Kosher salt
1 c Mother (at peak of frothiness; fed in previous 4-8 hrs)
1 – 1 ¼ c water
In non-metallic bowl combine flour with salt, then add Mother; mix with wooden spoon.  Add the water and mix until it forms into a ball.  Dough will be very sticky.  Keep in mixing bowl, cover with plastic wrap and let sit for 12-18 hours until doubled with bubbles forming on surface of dough.  After this first rising, take dough and knead lightly using only ¼ – ½ cup of flour.  Let dough remain a bit sticky or else it will bake up too heavy.  Sprinkle piece of parchment paper with flour/cornmeal.  Place dusted dough ball, seal down on paper and lower into baking container.*  Cover with plastic wrap.  Let rise for 3-4 hrs until doubled.  Preheat oven to 500 degrees .  Remove plastic wrap, score dough, cover baking container with lid and place in oven. Lower temp to 450 degrees and bake ½ hr.  Remove lid, bake 15 minutes until bread is golden brown.  Thunk for hollow, yet firm sound.  Remove bread immediately, discard paper.  Cool on rack. Slice and enjoy!
*while originally intended to be baked in a heavy bottomed pot with lid (aka-dutch oven) I use my pyrex casserole dish with lid which works perfectly for this single loaf recipe.

Note: This is the result of a recipe I experimented with while we were sojourning in Indiana (SwS-April 2010-September 2010).  It produces the truest San Francisco Sourdough bread outside of the Bay area; complete with thickness, crustiness and sour-y taste!

(My take on) Michelle’s Banana Choco-Chip Muffins/Quick Bread

Bread or Muffins? Why choose, have both!

Bread or Muffins? Why choose, have both!

½ c Crisco
1 c sugar
2 – 2 ¼ c self-rising flour
1 – 2 T ground flaxseed
cinnamon, ground nutmeg to taste
½ t vanilla
2 eggs
1 c Mother
3 – 4 very ripe bananas
1 c choco-chips (I prefer Ghirardelli 60% chips)
Preheat oven to 350F.  Cream together Crisco and sugar.  Add 1 T self-rising flour to the mixture.  Beat in eggs one at a time. In separate bowl, mix with fork the flour, flaxseed, cinnamon and ground nutmeg. Set aside ½ c flour mixture.  In another bowl, mash bananas to soft pulp equaling ~1 cup.  Add remaining flour mixture and mashed bananas to the creamed mix, little by little.  Toss the choco-chips with the reserved ½ c flour to coat and add to batter.  Pour batter into well-greased or lined muffin tins and/or parchment lined bread loaf pan.  (This can make 1 large quick loaf or 24 muffins or 10 muffins and a regular quick bread loaf)
Bake muffins for ~25 minutes; quick bread loaf for ~35-45 minutes.
Note: This new recipe has not been tested at high altitude, so keep an eye out for possible baking time changes.  Also, the loaf tends to be more moist than the muffins.

Buon’ Appetito!


  1. L. Marie

    Sounds great!

    • laura bruno lilly

      Would love to bake a few for you! Thanks for checking out this linked/old post!

  2. Lillian Batarseh

    I know exactly what to do with this bread. It smells heavenly even from afar. Please pass the butter and jam!

    • laura bruno lilly

      …And then your mouth would be filled with a buttery, sugary, fruity salty mess!
      The hardest part for me was reconciling the fantastic aroma with the taste (due to the gone-wrong recipe following on my part). I confess to have tried it several times over ‘just in case’ before tossing it into the garbage. Sigh.
      Of course the ones talked about in this post (rather than this post ) are truly perfect and yummy….

  3. Poetsmith

    Thank you for sharing this post, Laura. I enjoy sourdough bread and muffins too. Nothing like homemade bread and pastries! So delicious and nutritious … your recipes look great! 🙂 Regards, Iris.

    • laura bruno lilly

      Thanks,Iris. I like to think the photos help readers to enjoy a ‘virtual feast.’

      • Poetsmith

        It’s amazing what one can convey through pictures and words. You have a way with both. I enjoy your posts, Laura. Have a lovely day. 🙂 Love, Iris.

  4. Anna Scott Graham

    Oh my goodness, I am so glad I just ate lunch, or I’d be dying for some sourdough bread!
    That true loaf makes my mouth water… You have it down pat! 🙂

    • laura bruno lilly

      Since you live in the Bay area, I take that as a high compliment!

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