Ok. End result: the bread was great. I read others posts before I made the bread and kept hearing things about how you "lovingly knead the dough" or that one persons post about lecturing her grand kid or something about how love is like friendship or whatever. I thought it was sweet until I started making the bread. I guess my first clue should have been that the recipe calls for a quart of water, but for some reason I didn't catch on until I was counting out 12 cups of flour. Holy cow, what everyone really meant when they talked about kneading the bread was this: first your gonna need a frickin shovel to stir the stuff, then IF you do get the flour stirred in you are going to need a crane (heavily floured) to lift the gigantic ball of dough out of the bowl. Oh and if you had a bowl big enough to hold all the ingredients without taking it out side please tell me where you found it. I almost had to use my kids mini-pool. So assumeing you get it to a floured surface you are going to need some different kind of construction equipment to knead the dough, FOR HOURS. I ended up having to divide the dough into, not 4, but 6 loaves. And letting them rise individually. The recipe says to let it rise as one big dough ball and then divide it up into 4 loaves to let rise again. But I had to divide it just to be able to knead it. Plus I was afraid if I let it rise all as one big dough ball that I either A. Wouldnt have a kitchen or B. would suffer death by sourdough asphyxiation. All in all though it was worth it, because the bread was delicious. I took it to work, tore it into pieces and set it out with some balsamic bread dipping oil. I had a lot more people in my office that day.
This recipe is written for those of us who really do have the equipment & desire to make large batches. For everyone else, figure the shortening at 15 teaspoons and the water at 4 cups. Divide accordingly. All other ingredients will divide out easily enough. There is nothing in this recipe that wouldn't allow you to keep it in the refigerator & lop some off. I should keep for quite a while, but I'd use it within 4 or 5 days. It isn't as though it's going to go sour or anything. Also, you can form 4 balls and stick 3 in the freezer. Use just like you'd use frozen dough from the grocery store.
Super easy and lovely bread. My starter is very young, so this didn't have much sourness to it. I did make a sponge and let it sit for 24 hours before making the dough, in order to get a little more pungency. The texture was smooth and fabulous. I had no problems with rising time, it actually rose much faster than I anticipated, which turned out just fine. Thank you for a great recipe.
I have been using this recipe for 4 months now. My apologies in not rating this recipe before now. This bread has proven itself to be a consistant & reliable bread to have in the pantry. Absolutely good flavor and simple sturdy bread that we all expect! The first batch made, taught a young boy how to knead bread, and how to cry without shame because of missing someone you love. My daughter brings home "strays". We have known this boy for 2 yrs or better, we know his homelife is not the best - but we never push to talk, when they are secure, they will talk. While working on the bread he began to speak of his Grandma, gone for years now, when he became emotional and close to tears he stopped talking. I put him to kneading the bread, and just like a teenager-5 turns later he said it was boring. I told him that bread making is love. That when a person takes the time to make bread from scratch, to stretch and work the dough, it is the love you feel while kneading it that makes the bread rise. I told him to stop talking, and think in his heart about his Grandma, to talk in his head to her as he worked the dough, that she would still hear his words & fill his heart. The tears that might fall only make the bread raise higher. But most of all, crying is NOT a weakness as he first said when he had wiped his eyes and locked away the rest of the story. I left the room, and I do believe that batch of bread was kneaded better than any loaf has been in years. He renamed the recipe card this is written on. Now instead of it listing as Sourdough Bread Recipe 13716 - it says "Grandma Angelita's Bread"... Thank You Bergy- for a no fail recipe & more!
great bread. i use less salt (3 tsp.) and i bake it in loaf pans. i use coconut oil instead of shortening. i also took advice from another reviewer and baked the loaves at 350 instead of 375. i bake all four loaves at once and froze three. they thaw nicely and you can't tell that it isn't fresh bread.
thanks for the recipe.
*also* i substitute honey for the sugar and add flaxseed, wheat germ and chia seeds in place of some of the flour - all for a healthier loaf. i used whole wheat flour and the bread comes out perfectly every time.
solid recipe for a "new to sourdough bread" cook. I have had to tweak it a touch for my starter since the first time it took all day (literally) to make a batch (8 hours rise time? who has that kind of time to spare). I dissolve a tablespoon of yeast in the quart of water with the sugar for about ten minutes before I add the rest of the ingredients. That seemed to really help, I assume the problem is with my starter (though it works fine in other recipes...) I also had to reduce baking temperature to 325 to prevent the bottoms from burning, and raise my oven rack to the middle. I do not use the baking dishes, I just form the loaves into rounds on baking sheets and they bake up just beautifully.
Like Jessi Cook, I had trouble making an entire batch of this as well...it overflowed my biggest mixing bowl (made a big mess of the oven), stopped my KitchenAid dead in its tracks while mixing, I had a really hard time getting it to stop being sticky without adding so much flour that the bread was dry--just deal with the sticky-ness if you make this recipe, it's not a good idea to try and "dry it out". So...I recommend halving the recipe and using Pam to keep the dough from sticking to your hands. Be aware that if you use the Sourdough Bread Starter to make this recipe that you might have trouble getting it to rise in a reasonable amount of time and you might get more sour than you anticipated after the first month. Thanks anyway Bergy!
I'm probably the only one who had issues with the recipe, but I was not thrilled with it. The outside crust was a beautiful golden color, but the inside was doughy and underbaked, even after 1.25 hours of baking. But, others have had such good luck with this, I think I'd probably still suggest others try it; I'm clearly an anomoly!
This recipe is simple and easy to follow and makes a beautiful loaf. . . the texture and crust are unbeatable! This is now my favorite sourdough recipe and I'll be making it often. I did half this recipe and froze one dough ball after the first rise. A few days later I thawed it out, let rise until double and cooked as usual. It turned out perfect! Four loaves sounded like an aweful lot of work to me, but now that I know it freezes well, it doesn't sound like such a daunting task.
this sounds wonderful! I will try it today, but I have to know, what is the update on Grandma Angelita's grandson! What a great bread story.