Real Wild Sourdough Bread

(I originally posted this November 2009, I have since lost my sourdough start, but I am planning on starting another really soon)
“But how do you make the sourdough?” Mrs. Boast asked.
“You start it,” said Ma, “by putting some flour and warm water in a jar and letting it stand until it sours.”
“Then when you use it, always leave a little,” said Laura, “and put in the scraps of biscuit dough, like this, and more warm water,” Laura put in the warm water, “and cover it,” she put the clean cloth and the plate on the jar, ” and just set it in a warm place,” she set it in its place on the shelf by the stove. “And it’s always ready to use, whenever you want it.”
 Laura Ingalls Wilder By the Shore of SilverLake
For Christmas I got the book Nourishing Traditions and it quickly became a favorite of mine. I learned about making real sourdough bread from wild, local yeasts. I had been wanting to try it for a while, and finally got around to doing it.

The simplicity of it all amazed me, I had made sourdough starts before with sugars and yeasts and such. This sourdough consists of flour and water. Yes, only flour and water, no sugars and no commercial yeasts.

I started with 2 cups of freshly ground rye flour and two cups warm water. I stirred it all together and placed it in a gallon jar and cover the top with a light cloth. The cloth is very important, it allows the natural yeasts in the air to collect and feed on the flour while keeping bugs and flies out.

Each day after that I added a cup of rye flour and a cup of water.

I also put the start into a clean jar each day.

After only a few days it started to bubble and smelled like sweet yeast.
After a week the start is ready
To make the bread I added a quart of starter, a little salt some wheat flour and water.
2 cups white flour
5 cups whole wheat flour
1 1/4 tsp salt
3/4 cups water
to a
quart of sourdough start
Once it formed a soft dough I kneeded it until it was smooth and elastic.
I formed it into two loaves and cut slits in the top, covered and let them raise overnight or about 12 hours. Wild yeast bread takes longer to raise than commercial yeasts.
In the morning I baked the bread for an hour at 350 degrees
It made a nice crusty loaf of sourdough, the inside was chewy and made a wonderful accompaniment to hot soup that night.

Questions and Comments

The last post I did about baking bread was a fun one for me, the best part was reading the comments. I love my bloggy friends, I feel like I belong to a club or sisterhood or something. Bread baking is something I have learned to really enjoy. It didn’t necessarily start that way. I have always like the satisfaction of pulling hot crispy bread out of the oven, but there sure were times I was very frustrated with my results. Learning to bake bread is a process, you have to learn the small little tricks that have to do with where you live the temperature of your oven and the humidity of your house. While I don’t claim to be an expert, I do feel proficient and that is a good feeling.

I had a few questions that I would like to answer here.

Tif wanted to know how long I can freeze my bread for. That is a great question. I don’t really have a definite answer, but I have frozen it for as long as two months and it still tastes fresh. I just use regular bread storage bags, nothing fancy. Last May I knew that I wasn’t going to want to bake bread in the heat of the summer time. My kitchen is on the South West corner of the house and with the oven going it gets really hot. So I baked my brains out for about three days and I stored about 2 1/2 months worth of bread in the freezer. It made for a nutty few days of baking, but was well worth it in the summer.

Shannon, yes I bake 10 to 16 loaves in a day, that is 5 to 6 batches. That will give me almost two weeks worth of bread, I just don’t have the time to bake every other day. I will start around 10 in the morning and bake until the evening. It really isn’t all that bad, there is a lot of time where the bread is rising that I can do other things. I will usually have dough rising in the pans, and bowl and the Kitchen aid, and a batch baking in the oven. It is satisfying to see 16 loaves of bread lined up on my kitchen table cooling! (the state of my kitchen, that is another story!) Thanks for the compliment on the pictures, that is one of my favorite parts! (If you don’t mind I would love to read your blog! e-mail me

Charlotte, I am sorry about your Kitchen aid, that would be major at my house I use mine all the time! I got to thinking about kneading, it is really hard to over kneed, usually people don’t kneed enough! As I got to thinking about it, I don’t just stop the kneading process when it pulls away from the bowl, I probably give it 3 to 5 minutes once it starts to pull away. I probably should kneed it more.

Thanks Jesica, you should try it! Let me know if you do.

Michelle, I agree it is nice to see others bake bread, it is a lost art that is slowly coming back, someday I would like to experiment more, but now I am just trying to feed a bunch of picky kids!

Patty, I bet your house smells good all the time! There are weeks that I don’t have a full day to devote to baking, when that happens I will bake every other day, but that isn’t my favorite way of doing it. (y’all need to go take a look at Patty’s blog, she has a yummy picture of a loaf of her bread!)

Chrissy, I would so deliver, if you didn’t live a gazillion miles away.

Thanks Kate, I picked the prettiest ones to take pictures of. There were many that (past and present) that aren’t so beautiful. (Kate, I would love to know who you are…your profile is blocked.)

Heatherann, I have done that so many time! My kids favorite lunch is warm bread with butter and jam…hehe…freezing it works really well, you should try it.

Janelle, I am glad you liked the pictures, let me know if you bake some.

Angie….I just might.

Erika, I would love a professional Kitchen aid, when this one breaks I am going to buy the biggest professional one out there!

K2 (aka Katheryn) let me know when you try it!

Happy Baking!

How I Bake Bread

I have been wanting for a while to do post about baking bread. Since I am at my one year mark when it come to baking bread I figured this would be a good time.

One of the great things about baking bread is that there are so many ways and so many different recipes. Mostly it is a matter of person preference. There is a bit of science involved, for instance if you are closer to sea level your bread will take longer to rise than mine does at 4700 feet. Humidity is a factor too, where I am it is pretty dry, the west side of the Rocky Mountains is pretty much desert (although with two feet of snow in my yard one wouldn’t think I live in a desert, I guess you could call this our wet season!). In the winter the humidity is really low and I usually have to add a touch more water, I am thinking that in the south where it is 100% humidity you would need to add less.

Here is a list of ingredients:

2 1/2 cup hot water
1/3 cup honey (or any other kind of sweetener)
1 Tbsp yeast
3 cup whole wheat flour (I grind my own, I use hard white wheat, I like the flavor better)
1/4 cup butter or shortening (I use coconut oil, it is better for you)
1 Tbsp salt
3 Tbsp gluten
3 cup unbleached white flour
To the 2 1/2 cups hot water I add my honey.
The honey will cool down the water, that is why I start with it hot.

Then sprinkle the yeast on top of the water and let it sit and start working.

Once it looks like this it is ready to add to the other ingredient (except the white flour) to make a sponge.

While the yeast was growing I put together the coconut oil, wheat flour, salt and gluten

(this is my jug of coconut oil, it is the coolest stuff! In the winter when my house is a little cooler it is hard, like shortening, but in the summer when things are warmer it melts and is a liquid oil. this stuff is great for the skin too)

You can find wheat gluten in the baking section of the grocery store, or health food stores.

The gluten looks like really fine flour, it makes the bread softer and more elastic, it is especially important when using whole wheat.

When the yeast is dissolved and starting to get bubbly, pour it into the dry ingredients and give it a stir, don’t over stir it at this point, all you need to do is mix it well.

Let it sit in a warm place for about 10 to 15 minutes, until it gets a little bubbly, like the picture below. You don’t want it to rise, you just want the yeast to start working a bit.

Then add the three cups white flour and mix it well.

(have I ever mentioned how much I love my Kitchen aid)

Let the mixer just mix and mix

Once the dough forms just keep it going and it will knead it for you.
Of if you would like you could take the dough out and kneed it by hand.

Once the dough starts pulling away from the sides (if it is too sticky add some more flour) it is ready to rise. You can either just leave it in the bowl and cover it with a damp cloth, or transfer it to another bowl (that has been greased) to rise.

I always move it, when I bake bread I do between 10 and 16 loaves, so at this point I am ready to start the next batch.

When it has doubled in size, take it out and divide it in half and form into loaves.

Let is rise again in greased bread pans

I do two risings in my bread pans, I think it makes the texture a lot nicer. Once it has risen I just punch it down and reform the loaves.

(sorry the pictures are off, the sun had gone down)

When the tops are just taller than the pan stick them in a 400 degree oven for 30 minutes.

Don’t let them rise too much, or they will fall and be flat and hard to slice. If they rise too much you can always punch it down again and reform the loaves.

Take them out of the pan when they are still hot and lay them on their sides on a rack to cool.
When they are completely cool I put them in bread bags and freeze them until eatin time!

Baking Bread

It was a year ago that I decided that I was going to bake all our own bread. I haven’t bought a single loaf this whole year. I will never go back. There are so many things I love about baking bread. Something about providing with my own hands something that is so sustaining to my family. I like that I can provide a healthier bread for less money.

It has been a year of a lot of ups and downs as I have taught myself to bake bread. I have experimented a lot and failed a lot, my poor family had eaten a lot of flat, heavy bread. When I think I have it all figured out, I learn something else and make it better and better. Last night, I baked 6 loaves of bread, 4 came out beautiful and perfect, the last batch was fallen and flat!

Despite all the failures and struggles and hot kitchens on hot summer nights it has been a wonderful experience, and something that I plan on doing indefinitely.

Who else bakes their own bread, what do you enjoy about baking bread?

Neighbor Gifts


I love neighbor gifts

I love everything about them

I love planning for them, and making them, and giving them and getting them and eating them!

I love going to the door and wishing all my neighbors a Merry Christmas, and nothing is more fun than opening up the door to find happy faces and a plate full of goodies.

I love neighbors gifts

(have I said that already?)

This morning we woke up to this:

It was a surprise, there wasn’t any snow in the forecast. By the time it was all finished we got about 6 inches of wonderful white snow.

This is the left overs of the storm that closed the Las Vegas airport and all the schools.


It decided to make its presence known in northern Utah, and us Utahans, we just go about our business. It takes about 18 inches to close our schools. (I am sure those in the north east are saying “18 inches??? Babies!”)

Just because all the schools and roads were “open” doesn’t mean that I felt safe driving around today. I live at the top of a hill, and my city isn’t known for getting that hill plowed and salted promptly. I have on a few occasions slid to the very bottom (scary) and spun my tires all the way to the top (scary and annoying). So I decided to clear my calendar (ahem) and stay in for the day. Since I was now free I dived into my neighbor gift making project.

The gift for this year, fresh bread and homemade raspberry jam in super cute bottles.

I made the jam back in September, so all that was left was the bread and some cute tags.
I decided to make braided Challah bread glazed with honey, it is so pretty and yummy!

Neighbor gifts
Merry Christmas!