Food + Wine

Wanna Be Startin’ Somethin’

So I’ve been making my own sourdough bread with the potato starter of my grandmother (in law) since my son was born. Gaga’s been famous for her white sourdough bread for longer than I’ve been in the family picture. I was nervous at first to tamper with her holy recipe, it felt like a betrayal to touch it. Then I realized that I would still be able to carry on her bread-making tradition, only I could update it a bit and hope she would approve! (I now know that she does).
I could give you all the recipe for how to start your own starter but it would be useless since there is only one method printed 100 times online. If you have no idea what I’m talking about, and are interested, you may wanna Google ‘potato sourdough bread’ and read up on it.

The recipe for making potato sourdough bread is also the same everywhere you look and always yields 2 loaves (or in Gaga’s case, 3 smaller ones). What I do that I think is unique is use the same amount of starter to make only 1 loaf. (My family loves bread but I found myself with way too many loaves to eat and freeze since you have to make it about once a week to keep the starter ‘alive’. Side note- my husband thought the starter was an animal up until a few months ago…he kept hearing about it being ‘alive’ and that i had to ‘feed’ it to keep it that way. Another side note- he also thought a pimento was a fish. Adorable.) The resulting recipe makes a sweeter and more intensely flavored bread.
So my recipe for one basic whole wheat sourdough loaf is as follows… (in case any of you ever come across some sourdough starter or wish to borrow some of mine…)
1/2 cup white bread flour
1/2 cup whole wheat flour
1 tsp kosher salt
1/4 cup canola oil
1/8 cup honey or molasses
1 cup sourdough starter, (fed the night before and left out overnight)
1/4 cup warm tap water
-mix all ingredients until combined and leave in a large greased bowl. Grease the top of the dough and cover with plastic wrap (make sure plastic wrap doesn’t touch top of dough). Allow to rise a bit for about 2 hours in a warm spot.
-transfer to a floured surface and knead with flour until it forms a non-sticky ball and place in a greased loaf pan. Grease the top of the dough again and place in a warm place until it rises above the top of the loaf pan and resembles a rounded loaf of bread.
-preheat oven to 325* and bake for 28-30 min.
-Butter the top and cool on a rack until you can seal it well in a food storage bag.
(I hardly ever put a whole loaf in the bag…there always seems to be a piece missing…hmm..)
Now, that recipe is delicous on it’s own and is what my son and I eat every morning for breakfast. But here are just a few of the variations I’ve come up with using the same basic recipe but adding a few things to change it up a bit…
“Cheddar Cheese Bread”– add one cup of shredded sharp cheddar (extra sharp is great too)
“Pineapple Sidedish Bread”-add a small can of crushed pineapple, the juice from that can to sub for the water, and about 1 cup of shredded sharp cheddar
“Pimento Cheese Bread”-1 small can of pimentos, drained, and about 1 cup of shredded sharp cheddar
“Fruity Breakfast Bread”- add about 1 cup of chopped, dried fruit and some orange zest

“Apple Cinnamon Bread”-add about 1 cup of diced apples (pre-cooked to soften a bit) and 1-2 tsp’s of cinnamon
“Hawaiian Bread”– add about 1/3-1/2 cup of dried coconut, 1/3-1/2 cup crushed pineapple, tsp of cinnamon, tsp of dried ginger, tsp of vanilla extract.


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1 Comment

  • Reply cary August 7, 2009 at 12:58 pm

    hawaiian bread…mmmmmmmm 🙂

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